Cornmeal Battered Soft Crabs with Old Bay Corn Grits


for the crabs:
4 soft crabs, cleaned
2 cups milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
2-3 tablespoons Old Bay, divided use
freshly ground black pepper

for the grits:
1 cup yellow stone-ground grits
3 cup water or chicken stock
1/3 cup grated Gouda
1 tablespoon Old Bay
4 ears’ worth of (cooked) corn kernels
freshly ground black pepper


for the crabs:

Whisk together the milk, egg and half of the Old Bay in a medium bowl. Pour into a resealable bag, add the crabs. Seal and refrigerate 1 hour.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cornmeal, and remaining spices together in a bowl. Dredge both sides of each crab in the seasoned flour. Place on a platter until ready to fry.

Heat 1/4 inch oil in a large pan. Fry the crabs for 3-5 minutes on each side or until crisp and fully cooked. Drain on paper towel-lined plates.

for the grits:

In a medium pot, bring the water or stock and Old Bay to a boil. Add the grits and stir continually for about 10 minutes or until all the broth is absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and corn. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:

We had such a seafood weekend! We had a clambake in the Inner Harbor that had clam, mussels, crabs, lobster, and sausage then the next day we had steamed crabs and corn at home in the backyard. The only thing we didn’t have was soft crabs. Soft crabs are possibly my most favorite food so this clearly needed to be rectified.

I purchased live soft crabs and stored them in my fridge until I was ready to make them then I cleaned them. You can use defrosted, previously frozen, cleaned soft crabs but you do not want to buy dead nonfrozen soft crabs as they spoil really quickly and you have no way of knowing how long they were dead! It is okay to buy them alive and have the store clean them for you as long as you make them quickly and keep them cool.  If you live in a blue crab area, seafood markets and locally owned grocery stores are your best bet, although I will be honest and say I have also bought them at stands on the side of the road. They’re alive and if they were spoiled, I’d know so I feel safe doing that. But that’s pro-level crab procurement.  If you are local, feel free to email me and I will tell you where I get my crabs. I always bring a cooler and huge ice pack to transport my crabs home in since it is summer and I don’t want to poison us.

Anyway, I normally do a flour coat for my soft crabs and make sandwiches but I got fancy this time and busted out the cornmeal and made grits on the side using up the extra corn on the cob the steamed crab place gave us for some reason. It was such a good meal! I also made another vegetable dish but honestly, the grits and the soft crabs were enough. The crabs were super juicy and flavorful (the batter and the fact that you eat them shell and all really keeps the flavor in) and the creamy grits tied in perfectly. I really want to make this same meal again, right now.

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