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Buttered Softshell Crabs, with Mint & Pine Nut Sunchokes

Try to find crabs that are fresh, fresh, fresh – alive! If you live near the sea, visit a fish market near the docks (like Sono Seaport Seafood). If land-locked, check in with the fishmonger at the grocery store for quality and freshness.

The best place to find sunchokes is at the farmers market. But many grocery stores also carry them at this time of year! You can cut off any gnarly ends, but don’t bother peeling the skin – just scrub well and rinse the dirt from the elbows of the sunchokes. There are all sorts of nutrients and earthy, nutty flavors in the skin.

You can substitute the pine nuts (which are often absurdly expensive) with almonds, walnuts or any other nut – get creative and colorful with pistachios!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Buttered Softshell Crabs:
  2. In a large frying pan melt the butter over medium-high.
  3. When the butter is just about melted add the crabs stomach-side down. Let them pop and sizzle for a good 5-7 minutes, or until the bottom is seared brown. Peek by lifting with a spatula. Flip and repeat on the other side. They should turn a beautiful, charred brick red.
  4. Serve with a generous spritz of lemon!
  5. Mint & Pine Nut Sunchokes:
  6. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and stir to mix with the butter. Cover with a lid and caramelize the onions for about 10 minutes.
  7. Add the salt and sunchokes, and toss with the onions. Saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let them stick to the pan and get browned!
  8. While the sunchokes are cooking, toast the pine nuts. You can toast them in a dry pan – tossing occasionally – for 5 minutes over medium heat, or in a toaster oven or oven on 300 degrees for 7 minutes. They are done when browned and perfuming the air. (Watch carefully so as not to burn)
  9. Remove the sunchokes from the pan and toss with the mint and pine nuts.
  10. Dress with freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice.