Softshell Crab, Amarillito, Green Papaya, and Verbena

Adapted by
October 2016
Yield: 60 servings


4 kilograms coconut milk
100 grams thinly sliced pickled banana peppers [nid:6873]`, 50 grams pickling liquid reserved
100 grams coconut oil
70 grams ají amarillo chile
20 grams chilhuacle amarillo chile
20 grams cascabel chile
20 grams costeño chile
500 grams tomatillos, hulled
200 grams plum tomatoes, trimmed
40 grams thinly sliced garlic
40 grams thinly sliced shallots
50 grams thinly sliced ginger
50 grams thinly sliced galangal
8 grams dried shrimp
30 grams thinly sliced turmeric
3 grams cinnamon
1 gram Mexican oregano
4 allspice berries
2 grams coriander seed
20 grams thinly sliced lemongrass
25 grams curry paste
200 grams ginger juice
10 grams garlic paste
20 grams minced shallot
40 grams sesame oil
20 grams fish sauce
200 grams lime juice
10 grams seeded and minced habenero chile
250 grams grapeseed oil
Green Papaya Salad
10 green papayas, cut into long thin stips on a mandolin
1 cup shiso chiffonade
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup thinly sliced serrano chiles
1/2 cup thinly sliced banana peppers
Corn Batter
550 grams yellow corn flour, toasted
1.5 kilograms cornstarch
50 grams salt
20 grams baking soda
Soda water
To Assemble and Serve
Grapeseed oil for deep frying
60 softshell crabs, cleaned, faces cut off and lungs scraped
Chilhuacle amarillo chile powder
15 limes, quartered
2 cups lemon verbena leaves


For the Amarillito

In a pot, heat coconut milk until reduced by half; set aside, alongside reserved pickling liquid. In a large saucepan with coconut oil, sauté remaining ingredients until spices are toasted and fragrant, seasoning with salt. Transfer mixture to a blender and blend to a paste, seasoning with pickling liquid. Add paste to pot with coconut milk reduction and heat over low flame until mixture reaches a rolling boil. Transfer to a clean blender container, purée, pass through a chinois, and season with salt. Cover and keep hot.

For the Vinaigrette

In a bowl, whisk to combine all ingredients. 

For the Green Papaya Salad

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.

For the Corn Batter

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, adding enough soda water to make a batter the consistency of tempura batter. Hold on ice. 

To Assemble and Serve

Heat deep fryer to 350ºF. Dip crab in Corn Batter, coating the crab and shaking off excess batter. Fry 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season crab with salt and chilhuacle powder. Into a serving bowl, ladle 2 ounces Amarillito. In a mixing bowl, dress Green Papaya Salad in Vinaigrette. Gently place crab on top of Amarillito in the serving bowl. Arrange a small handful of salad to one side of crab. Finish with lime juice and garnish with lemon verbena leaves.