Photo by: Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Annette Joseph

Fried Soft-Shell Crabs Benedict

Pass the Bloody Marys: This Chesapeake staple now stars for brunch.

  • Yield: Makes 6 servings


  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 7 large eggs
  • 6 soft-shell crabs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 6 (3/4-inch-thick) French bread loaf slices
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (0.9-oz.) envelope hollandaise sauce mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


1. Pour oil to depth of 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 360°. Whisk together evaporated milk, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup water in a large bowl.

2. Rinse crabs, pat dry, and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Dredge crabs in flour; dip in evaporated milk mixture, and dredge in flour again. Fry crabs, in 2 batches, in hot oil 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels. Keep warm.

3. Preheat oven to 375°. Brush 1 side of each bread slice with butter. Bake bread slices, buttered sides up, 5 minutes or until toasted.

4. Prepare hollandaise sauce mix according to package directions, omitting butter and using 1 cup milk and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice.

5. Pour water to depth of 2 inches into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and maintain at a light simmer. Add vinegar. Break remaining 6 eggs, and slip into water, 1 at a time, as close as possible to surface. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes or to desired degree of doneness. Remove with a slotted spoon. Trim edges, if desired.

6. Top bread slices with arugula, fried crabs, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle with chives and salt and pepper to taste.


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Fried Soft-Shell Crabs Benedict Recipe