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Tempura Soft Shells With Oriental Salad And Citrus Gastrique

  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup thin yellow bell pepper strips
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup thin Chinese cabbage strips
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/4 pound angel hair pasta, cooked according to package instructions and tossed with 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 4 large soft-shell crabs
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 2/3 cup bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup ice-cold soda (seltzer) water
  • Essence to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves


  • In a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, and fruit juices, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by three-fourths, or the mixture has thickened like syrup. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a small glass bowl. Let cool completely.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium-size sautÈ pan over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Season again with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic. Pour the mixture into a medium-size mixing bowl and let cool. Add the pasta and toss well. Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, cilantro, and peanuts, season with salt and pepper, and toss again. Set aside.
  • To clean the crabs, use a pair of kitchen shears to cut them across the face. Remove the eye sockets and the lower mouth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large, heavy, deep pot or an electric fryer heat 6 inches of vegetable oil to 360?F.
  • In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, egg, and soda water and mix well to make a smooth batter. Season with salt and pepper. Dip each crab into the tempura batter, shaking off any excess. Carefully holding the top of each crab, drag the legs through the oil for 5 seconds to allow the individual legs to fry separately. Then carefully flip the crabs top side down into the oil. Fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the crabs over with tongs and continue frying for another 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Season with Essence.
  • To serve, mound the cabbage mixture in the center of a platter. Arrange the crabs around the cabbage mixture. Drizzle the gastrique over the entire platter and garnish with the parsley.