Softshell Crab with Grilled Ramp Dressing
Softshell crabs are a rare treat, when you can find
them. Combined with ramps and fresh asparagus, they
are delicious beyond description.
Two things to remember about this
recipe: 1) it includes a raw egg warning,* so
use only refrigerated, clean, sound-shelled, fresh,
grade AA or A eggs. Avoid mixing yolks and whites
with the shell.
2.) the recipe calls for
Emeril's Creole "essence" also called "Bayou Blast."
Season the ramps with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place the ramps on the grill and cook for one or two minutes per side, or until the ramps are wilted. Remove the ramps and allow them to cool completely.
Using a food processor with a metal blade, combine the egg, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, hot sauce, and grilled ramps, and puree until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
While the machine is running, add the oil very slowly in a continuous stream. Continue processing until the mixture is thick and creamy.
Remove and chill thoroughly.
Preheat the oil in the fryer to 360 degrees.
Season the crabs and the flour with Emeril's "Essence."
Dredge the softshells in the flour, coating them completely.
Now, holding each crab carefully at the top, drag the legs through the hot oil for five seconds to permit the individual legs to fry separately.
Carefully flip the crabs top side down into the hot oil. Fry until they are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per crab.
Drain the crabs on paper towels and season with the "Essence."
In a mixing bowl, mix the sorrel and the watercress. Season with salt and pepper.
Season the asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil, and some salt and pepper.
To serve the dish, spoon some of the dressing in the center of each of the four serving plates. Form 3 spears of asparagus into a triangle over each pool of dressing. Mound the greens in the center of each triangle, then place each crab on top of the greens.
This recipe is from New New Orleans Cooking by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.
2 ½ tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh cracked pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container. Makes about 2/3 cup.