Crisp Buttermilk Soft Shell Crab, Prudens Purple Tomato Salad, Baby Arugula, Shaved Fennel, Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette
Chef Bryan Voltaggio of Charlie Palmer Steak – Washington, DC
Adapted by

Yield: 6 Servings

Crisp Buttermilk Soft Shell Crab, Prudens Purple Tomato Salad, Baby Arugula, Shaved Fennel, Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette on StarChefs.comIngredients:

    Citrus Vinaigrette:
  • ¼ cup onions, diced
  • ¼ cup carrots, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • Lemon zest
  • ½ quart chicken stock
  • Juice of 6 lemons
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 quart salad oil
  • Salt and pepper

    Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette:
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • 3 pounds tomatoes, smoked
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 1 cup minced shallots
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup Spanish sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup water to adjust

    Basil Oil:
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 cups packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Salt

  • 1 Tablespoon toasted fennel seed
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted coriander seed
  • ½ Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup Wondra flour
  • Salt
  • 6 soft shell crabs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 cups seasoned flour
  • Grapeseed oil, for frying

  • 6 slices Cherokee Purple tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups baby arugula leaves
  • 1 cup shaved fennel
  • Micro opal basil leaves
  • Chive flowers

For Citrus Vinaigrette:
Sweat mirepoix in oil with lemon zest for 10 minutes. Cover with chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes or until reduced to ¼ of original volume. Remove from heat strain and cool. Combine lemon juice, vinegar and oil. Add reduction to oil mixture and emulsify. Season with salt and pepper and store until ready to use. Can be made several days in advance and stored in refrigerator.

For Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette:
Toast garlic cloves in oil. Stew tomatoes with basil and garlic. Puree in a VitaPrep and pass through a chinois. Sweat shallots and let cool. Combine shallots with two cups tomato puree and vinegar, and whisk in the oil. Add water to adjust consistency. Warm before plating.

For Basil Oil:
Bring 4 quarts water to a boil and add salt to taste. Set up an ice bath. Blanch basil for 2 minutes in boiling water and transfer immediately to an ice bath. Cool for 2 minutes, drain, then squeeze excess water from basil. Blend basil and 1 cup olive oil in a blender until well mixed. Strain in a coffee filter or cheesecloth.

For Crabs:
Toast fennel and coriander over medium heat in a small, dry sauté pan until very fragrant and nicely toasted. Transfer to a coffee grinder, add peppercorns and paprika, and grind until very fine. Mix spiced with flours and season with salt to taste.

Clean the soft shell crabs by removing the gills, eyes, and apron. The shell may have some leathery points, which you will want to trim. Add the crabs to the buttermilk and reserve in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, remove crabs from buttermilk and dredge in seasoned flour. Heat the oil for frying the crabs to 350°F and add the crabs one at a time to the fryer. The temperature of the oil will decrease if too many crabs are added at once, so fry in batches of 2 for best results. Remove from fryer once crabs are golden brown and crisp. Place on a paper towel lined plate and immediately season with salt.

To Assemble and Serve:
Season tomato slices with olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper and place on the center of the plate. Lightly dress the arugula and fennel with the citrus vinaigrette and place on top of the tomato. Place the crab on top and spoon around the smoked tomato vinaigrette. Drizzle the basil oil around the center of the plate. Finish with micro basil and chive flowers.



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   Published: August 2006