Soft-shell Crab Choron
Golden deep-fried soft-shell crabs are a seasonal New Orleans specialty. These crabs pick up the hint of hot cayenne from the sauce and from being dusted with the Creole seasoning mix before being breaded.
- Creole Sauce
- Green Bell Pepper - 1/2, seeded and chopped
- Red Bell Pepper - 1/2, seeded and chopped
- Onions - 1 cup, chopped
- Tomatoes - 2 large, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Tarragon - 1/2 teaspoon, chopped
- Oregano - 1/2 teaspoon, chopped
- Basil - 1/2 teaspoon, chopped
- Thyme - 1/2 teaspoon, chopped
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Creole Seafood Seasoning - 1 tablespoon (below)
- Garlic Cloves - 2, thinly sliced
- Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce - 1 teaspoon
- Bearnaise Sauce
- Butter - 1/2 pound
- Egg Yolk - 4, at room temperature
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Worcestershire sauce - 1-1/2 tablespoons
- Dry white wine - 1 tablespoon
- Salt and coarsely ground white pepper to taste
- Choron Sauce
- Choron Sauce - 1 cup, (above)
- Bearnaise Sauce - 1-1/4 cups (above)
- Soft-shell crabs - 8 large, cleaned, eyes removed
- Creole seafood seasoning - (below)
- Garlic Clove - 1, minced
- Flour - 1 cup
- Oil for deep frying
- Egg - 1, slightly beaten with 1 cup milk
- Bread Crumbs - 2 cups
- Parsley Leaves - 8, stemmed and chopped
- Creole Seafood Seasoning
- Oregano - 2 tablespoons
- Salt - 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
- Garlic - 1/4 cup granulated
- Freshly ground black pepper - 1/4 cup
- Cayenne Pepper - 1/3 cup, or to taste
- Thyme - 2 tablespoons
- Paprika - 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
- Granulated Onion - 3 tablespoon
To make the Creole sauce: Put the peppers, onion, tomatoes, tarragon, oregano, basil, thyme, and butter in a saute pan. Saute over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Before the onion becomes transparent, add the Creole seasoning, garlic, and Tabasco. Simmer to reduce the liquid by one-third. Let cool.
To prepare the Bearnaise sauce: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Do not let it brown. When completely melted, remove from the heat. Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, wine, salt, and pepper in the top of a double boiler over simmering water; do not let the water touch the bottom of the pan. Whisk the mixture until it thickens and a sheen forms, about 3 minutes (no longer than 5 minutes). In a slow, steady stream, begin adding the melted butter, whipping constantly with a whisk. Continue until all the butter has been added. Add the wine and whip well. The sauce should be light and fluffy. Set the sauce aside and keep warm over tepid water, or in an insulated container.
To make the choron sauce: Fold the cooled Creole sauce and the béarnaise sauce together. Set aside and keep warm over tepid water or in an insulated container.
To prepare the crabs: Season the crabs with Creole seasoning and minced garlic. Dust with flour. Bring the oil to 355 F in a deep fryer or deep saucepan. Dip the crabs in the egg-milk mixture, then roll in the bread crumbs until completely covered. Fry immediately until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Use tongs to hold the crabs securely. Remove the crabs and drain on paper towels.
To serve: Place a crab on each warmed serving plate. Spoon choron sauce over the crabs and garnish with parsley.
Creole Seafood Seasoning
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into a large glass jar. Makes 2 cups; keeps indefinitely (eventually, the flavors will fade, but the mixture will not “go bad”).