Softshell Crab With Cucumber, Country Ham, Shiitakes And Herb Butter

Posted by: scooby 08-03-99 5:03 PM

Softshell Crab with Cucumber, Country Ham, Shiitake Mushrooms and Herb Butter
Source: Chef Marcel Desauliniers of Trellis, a restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg.

Softshell Crabs:
12 softshell blue crabs, cleaned
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup flour
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
6 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut lengthwise into long strips
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/4 pound country ham, cut in julienne

Herb Butter:
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon butter, softened
1/4 cup fish stock
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Softshell Crabs: Sprinkle softshell crabs with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Pat crabs dry with paper towel. Dust with flour, using up to 1/2 cup, as necessary.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in large saute pan. When hot, carefully saute crabs, shell side first, until golden brown on both sides. Remove from pan and keep warm.

In a clean saute pan, saute cucumbers in 2 tablespoons of butter.

In a separate pan, saute shiitake mushrooms and country ham in 2 tablespoons of butter. When all ingredients are hot and butter sauce is ready, assemble dish.

Herb Butter Sauce: Combine flour and softened butter until mixture is smooth and free of lumps.

In a small pan, heat fish stock and white wine to a boil. Quickly whip butter and flour mixture into boiling hot stock and wine. Remove from pan.

Whip whole butter into thickened mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time. When all butter has been incorporated into sauce, add chopped herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Hold away from heat until served.

To assemble: Place cucumbers on base of individual dinner plates, divided evenly. Portion 2 to 3 tablespoons of herb butter sauce over each plate of cucumbers. Set softshell crabs on top of cucumbers (2 per plate). Finish by spooning shiitake and ham mixture over crabs, divided evenly. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings

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