Soft-Shell Crabs Over Angel Hair Pasta
Chef William LiebhartThe BayouBellmore, New York
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup clarified butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno chili pepper
1 bunch scallions, white parts chopped and green tops reserved
6 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried tarragon
Pinch of dried thyme
1 pound frozen crawfish tails, thawed
2 cups seafood stock or bottled clam juice
¾ cups white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 pound angel hair pasta
First, clean the crabs: Rinse the crabs with cold water to remove the sand. With scissors, snip off the feathery fronds from under both sides and snip off the facial area and tail apron. (Alternatively, ask your fishmonger to clean the crabs for you.) Pat the crabs dry and dust lightly with the flour, tapping off the excess.
To clarify the butter, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and let stand 5 minutes. Skim off the white butterfat that rises to the top. Pour off the clear liquid, which is the clarified butter.
In a large sauté pan, heat the clarified butter over medium heat. Add the crabs and cook until golden brown on the first side. Turn over and cook for 1 minute. Then add garlic, jalapeño, and white parts of scallions. Swirl the pan to mix the ingredients and cook down for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and all the seasonings, except parsley, and continue to swirl the pan, cooking for 2 minutes longer. Add the white wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the crawfish and cook down for 2 minutes. Add the seafood stock and cook over low heat until the sauce reduces slightly. Chop the reserved scallion tops and add to pan along with the parsley.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring at least 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain.
Divide the pasta among 2 plates. Place 1 crab onto each mound of pasta and spoon the sauce evenly over the top. Soft shell crabs are usually served 2 per entree. You will need less pasta for 2 servings.