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Herb Crusted Softshell Crabs With† A Fresh Tomato Risotto

  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 dozen Louisiana whaler soft-shell crabs, cleaned (they are really big crabs)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, parsley, chervil, and tarragon
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 pound (2 cups) Arborio rice
  • 1/2 pound assorted baby tomatoes, such as cherry, current, teardrop, stemmed and cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions, green part only


  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  • Season the soft-shell crabs with salt and pepper. Rub each soft-shell completely with about 1 tablespoon of the mustard. Crust each soft-shell with some of the herbs, coating each crab completely. In 2 large oven-proof sauté pans, over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of oil to each pan. When the oil is hot, carefully add 3 of the soft-shells to the hot pan, top-side down. Pan-fry for 2 minutes on each side. Remove and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Using a paper towel, wipe out the pan and heat the remaining oil. Repeat the above process with the remaining soft-shells. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven. Spoon the risotto in the center of each serving plate. Lay 2 of the soft-shells over the risotto.
  • Garnish with chives.
  • Yields: 6 servings
  • FRESH TOMATO RISOTTO: In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onions. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring. Sauté until the onions are slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Add the water and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 6 minutes. Add the rice and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and continue to simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture is creamy and bubbly, about 8 minutes. Stir in the butter, cream, cheese and green onions. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Spoon the risotto into serving bowls or plates and serve.