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It’s been years (at least 25+) since I have had Stuffed Fried Hard-Shell Crabs.  My mother used to make this delicacy with left over boiled crabs…I can remember her sitting at the table in Grand Isle, after everyone had their fill of crabs – picking crabmeat and cleaning the bodies of these wonderful creatures to be used in gumbos, stews or (even better!) her stuffed fried hard-shell crabs!!

This past Sunday afternoon, I found myself doing the same (she taught me well!)… sitting at my table, cleaning leftover boiled crabs that my husband brought back from a trip to Pecan Island.  They were so full, fat and sweet – nothing like Pecan Island Crabs…really, they are the best I have ever had! (So, eat a crab, clean a crab!) As I picked and picked…I began to remember all of the wonderful things that Moma would do with crabs – then I remembered – Stuffed Fried Hard-Shell Crabs!  Now, she never did write down her recipe for the stuffing or the whole process…but, I guess I loved them so much that I was paying attention!

Ingredients:

Canola oil for frying

2 dozen boiled crabs, cleaned – keeping the bodies whole

Just to say, don’t ever think that crabmeat is overpriced!  Believe me, it is worth every penny that you pay…peeling and cleaning crabs is work! But worth every minute – or hour (Never waste a good crab!)

For Stuffing:

1 pound claw meat (hand picked or bought!)

2 shallots – chopped

1/2 cup celery – chopped

1/2 stick butter

3 slices of bread

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 egg – beaten

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

pinch of cayene pepper

For the Batter:

3 cups all-purpose flour (place in low pan or bowl)

4 eggs

1 can evaporated milk

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Dry crab bodies with paper towel and set aside;

Saute’ shallots and celery in butter until very soft;

Pour evaporated milk over slices of bread in a bowl to soak;  After 5 minutes squeeze milk out of bread and add to saute’ pan;

Add crabmeat, salt and pepper to pan;

Wisk eggs, then slowly add to pan, stirring constantly (you don’t want scrambled eggs in your stuffing!); Heat until stuffing is thick and well heated throughout.  Remove from heat and let cool;

Toss and completely coat crab bodies in flour…make sure that you get flour into all of the little leg openings;

Wisk eggs until well beaten;  Add evaporated milk and continue to wisk until well blended;

Dip flour coated crab bodies into egg/milk mixture;

Dredge crab, again, into flour…coat very well and set on clean tray;

Heat canola oil in deep fryer to 375 degrees;  Add 1 layer of stuffed crabs at a time and fry until golden brown…

While I had the fryer out…I just had to make home-made french fries!  You could serve a fresh green salad, but not tonight – had to keep the fryer busy!

I had so much fun making this – but not as much as eating it!  Ok, so it’s a bit messy…eat some of the stuffing, then break the crab in half and start picking the crabmeat out of the shell (just like when you eat a boiled crab).  What you end up with is a little taste of the stuffing with each bite of crab…and a whole pile of paper towels!  Worked years ago and works today – Moma’s fabulous stuffed fried hard-shell crabs…

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