Panfried Softshell Crabs with Garlic-Herb Butter

  • Serves

    serves 4


Manhattan's Grand Central Oyster Bar serves this dish each spring, in softshell season.


  • 8 tbsp. salted butter, softened
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1 12 tsp. white wine
  • 12 tsp. minced fresh dill
  • 12 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 12 tsp. minced fresh chives
  • 12 tsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 12 tsp. minced fresh parsley
  • 12 tsp. minced fresh tarragon
  • 12 tsp. minced fresh basil
  • 12 cup flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 cup olive oil
  • 8 jumbo softshell crabs, cleaned
  • 2 lemons, 1 juiced and 1 cut into quarters
  • 4 sprigs curly parsley


Step 1

Combine butter, garlic, shallots, wine, dill, thyme, chives, cilantro, minced parsley, tarragon, and basil in a bowl and set aside.

Step 2

Combine flour and salt and pepper to taste in a wide dish. Heat half the oil in a a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge half the crabs in the flour, then sauté crabs, turning once, until golden brown, 2-2 1⁄2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat process with remaining oil and crabs.

Step 3

Remove skillet from heat, add garlic-herb butter and lemon juice, and swirl until melted. Divide crabs between 4 plates; spoon butter over crabs. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs.

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