Garlic Butter Crab with Sweet Chili Sauce

Crabs may not seem like a regular delicacy, but they are one pack of a treat. Soft-shelled crabs are comfortable to cook and easily blend well with many dishes. We love serving them in many platters day-round. This well-flavored meal with butter and garlic works well as either an appetizer, a snack, or lunch. It is crunchy, juicy, and comes with the right amount of heat to kick your mood up.



Ingredients:

Garlic Butter Crabs:

1 cup butter

1 garlic bulb, peeled and minced

1 lb soft-shelled crabs, cleaned

1 cup lime-lemon soda

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Sweet Chili Sauce:

8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 cup red chilies, deseeded

2 Thai chilies, deseeded

⅓ cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

1½ tsp sea salt

¾ cup plain vinegar

1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp water

Serving:

1 green lettuce, fresh leaves extracted

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley


Directions:

Garlic Butter Crabs:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat, 1 minute.

  2. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and light brown, 2 minutes.

  3. Place in the crabs and stir to coat thoroughly with the butter. Cover the skillet and cook until the crabs start obtaining an orange color, 3 to 4 minutes.

  4. Pour in the soda, stir well and continue cooking (covered) for 8 to 10 minutes or until the soda has mostly evaporated. The crabs will have had a pleasant orange color too.

  5. Season with salt, black pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes. Turn the heat off.

Sweet Chili Sauce:

Make the sauce while the crabs cook.

  1. In a blender, add the garlic, chilies, and water. Process the ingredients at low speed until slushy. Increase the speed to medium and blend until smooth. You may leave the mixture slushy as desired.

  2. Pour the mix into a pot and stir in the sugar, salt, and vinegar. Simmer over medium heat while stirring at the beginning until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 5 minutes.

  3. Add the cornstarch and stir until syrupy, and the sauce starts boiling, 1 minute. Turn the heat off.

Serving:

  1. Divide the crabs into four serving plates and garnish with the parsley.

  2. Pour the sweet chili sauce into four small sauce bowls and sit by the crab's side on one end. 

  3. Lay the lettuce on the other end and serve immediately.


To Store: Put any remaining crabs in a Tupperware and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Keep remaining sweet chili sauce in an airtight jar and chill for up to a month.

To Re-Heat: Microwave crabs for 1 to 2 minutes before enjoying. The sweet chili sauce does not require re-heating.

Other Servings: For more textures, serve crabs with a garden medley salad and some French fries.



Tips for Using Soft-Shelled Crabs:

Purchasing: Always buy live crabs for a tasty delicacy. To test their taste, slightly smell the crabs for a clean smell like sea mist. This aroma infuses the dish with the sea’s fragrance for a delicious meal.

Cleaning: With a crab in one hand and kitchen shears in another, cut off the front part of the crab, i.e., about half an inch behind the mouth and eyes. Press out the yellow-like contents from behind the cut you made.

Then, lift one pointed side of the outer shell and clean off the gills. Do the same thing on the other hand. Do not rip the shell off to keep the crab intact.

After, turn the crab to the other side. Locate the apron and use your finger or the tip of the shears to lift the apron. Snip it off.

Rinse the crab thoroughly and get ready to cook.

Storing: If not cooking the crabs yet, place them in a plastic zipper bag and store in the coldest part of your refrigerator for up to two days.


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