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Print this Recipe    Softshell Crabs 11

Soft-shell Crabs with Creamy Tomato Sauce
Yield: 4 servings

6 T olive oil
6 garlic clove; thinly sliced
6 lg shallots; thinly sliced
1/2 ts cumin seeds
1/4 ts celery seeds
1/4 ts crushed red pepper
1 ts salt
1 ts freshly ground black pepper
1/2 ts sugar
35 oz whole tomatoes, packed in juice, drained & chopped
1 c creme fraiche
1 c flour
8 soft-shell crabs; cleaned

In a large nonreactive skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive
oil over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and shallots
and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are translucent
and the garlic begins to brown, 5 to 6 minutes (don't let the garlic
get too brown or it will be bitter). Stir in the cumin and celery
seeds, red pepper and 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and black
pepper. Cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the sugar and tomatoes
and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer
the sauce for 15 minutes. Add the creme fraiche and simmer for 6
minutes longer. Cover and keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 250F. On a plate, toss the flour with the
remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Pat the
crabs dry with paper towels and dredge them in the seasoned flour.

In a large skillet, preferably nonstick, heat 2 tablespoons of the
olive oil over moderately high heat. Add 4 of the crabs and cook,
turning once, until red and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer
the crabs to a heatproof platter and place in the oven to keep
warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 4 crabs.
To serve, spoon the tomato sauce onto 4 warmed plates and arrange
2 crabs on the sauce on each plate.

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