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Goat Cheese Stuffed Soft Shell Crabs With A Pecan Pesto Butter Sauce

  • Yield: 8 servings


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup pecan pieces, toasted (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 6 cups vegetable oil
  • 8 large soft-shell crabs, cleaned
  • 1/4 cup Creole Seasoning
  • 1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 cups fine dried bread crumbs
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Mashed Potatoes


  • Combine the basil, garlic, pecans, cheese, salt, and black pepper in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady stream and process to make a paste.
  • Transfer the pesto to a medium-size saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the butter, a cube at a time, until all of it is incorporated. Set aside and keep warm.
  • In a large, heavy, deep pot or an electric deep-fryer, heat the vegetable oil to 360?F.
  • Season the soft-shells with 1 tablespoon of the Creole seasoning. Put the flour in a large bowl and season it with 2 teaspoons of the Creole seasoning. Put the eggs and milk in another bowl and season it with 1 teaspoon of the Creole seasoning. Put the bread crumbs in another bowl and season the bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon of the Creole seasoning.
  • Carefully lift the ìshouldersî of each crab and stuff the cavity with 2 tablespoons of the goat cheese. Press the cheese firmly into the cavity. Dredge the crabs in the seasoned flour, tapping off any excess, then dip them in the egg wash, letting the excess drip off. Dredge them in the bread crumbs, making sure to coat the legs completely.
  • One at a time, holding the body of each crab, carefully drag the legs in the hot oil for about 30 seconds, then carefully drop the crab into the oil. Fry until golden brown, flipping the crabs with tongs two to three times to brown evenly, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the oil with tongs and drain on paper towels. Season each crab as it comes out of the oil with some of the remaining 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning. Repeat the procedure until all of the crabs are cooked.
  • To serve, spoon the pesto sauce into the center of each plate. Mound the mashed potatoes in the center of the sauce. Place a soft-shell on top of each mound of potatoes.
  • NOTE: Combine 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and the pecans in a nonstick skillet over high heat. Cook, stirring, until they are toasted and brown, about 3 minutes.

Recipe Details