Panfried Softshell Crabs with Garlic-Herb Butter
Manhattan's Grand Central Oyster Bar serves this dish each spring in softshell crab season, but it's delectable all summer long. Maxime Iattoni

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

Yield: serves 4


  • 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


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