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Seared Soft-shell Crab with Brown Butter Sauce

Photo: Greg Dupree Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas 

Hands-on time 15 mins
Total time 15 mins

Serves: 6

Here is a basic recipe for cooking soft-shell crabs. You can mix it up by adding chopped hazelnuts and a brown butter sauce.


  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) salted butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 fresh soft-shell crabs, cleaned
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 lemon wedges

How to Make It

  1. Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium; skim white milk solids from surface, and discard. Add hazelnuts to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until butter and nuts begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and keep warm.

  2. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add half of the crabs to skillet; cook until browned and done, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer cooked crabs to a platter, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Repeat with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, half of crabs, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Drizzle with warm butter and nut mixture. Serve with lemon wedges.