Soft Shell Crabs on Citrus Sauvignon Blanc Beurre Blanc with Fried Capers

Recipe Courtesy of Brier Neel from Birmingham, MI | 2021 Recipe Second Runner-Up

Serves 4


3/4 cups gluten-free flour

1/4 cup finely ground pistachios

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 very fresh soft shell crabs

1/2 cup organic avocado oil

1/2 cup St Supery Sauvignon Blanc

1 lime, juiced and zested

1 lemon, juiced and zested

1 blood orange or regular orange, juiced and zested

3/4 of one stick butter

1/4 cup large capers, rinsed, drained and patted dry

1/4 cup grape tomatoes, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons arugula, minced


Mix the flour, pistachios, salt, pepper and pepper flakes on a large plate.

In a small skillet combine the wine and all 3 juices. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer. Cook until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Whisk in half of all the fruit zest and the butter until the butter is melted.

Rinse and pat dry the crabs. Dredge each in the flour mixture and shake off excess.

Heat large skillet with half of the oil. When shimmery, add the crabs and cook about 4 minutes per side or until nicely browned on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towel.

In a second skillet, heat the remaining oil in a small skillet and pan fry the capers until browned entirely. Remove and drain on paper towel.

To serve, lay the crabs on individual serving plates or one large platter. Top with the warm sauce and garnish with the fried capers, fresh tomatoes, remaining fruit zest and arugula.

Wine Pairing: Napa Valley Estate Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

The fresh soft shell season is so short that I look forward to it every year for a special treat. They are so delicate, tasty and easy to prepare in no time. Here I dredge them in gluten-free flour because it results in a lighter, slightly crunchier texture, mixed with pistachios for warm flavor. They sit in a pool of triple citrus beurre blanc enhanced with St Supery Sauvignon Blanc and are finished with a bit of refreshing fresh tomato, arugula and fried capers. The citrus and wine add a bright acidity to the rich crabs, the tomato offers a little refreshing touch, arugula adds a hint of pepper and color and the capers finish it with just a little puckery crunch. A chilled glass of St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc is perfect with these crabs as it plays off of the citrusy notes of the sauce and provides such a refreshing balance to the richness of the crab.

I use soft shell crabs that have been flown in to my local fish supplier fresh from the Chesapeake. They are harvested wild and have been recognized and identified on the €œbest choice € list by the Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch as the stock is healthy, not overfished, and the trot line fishing practices do not impact other species.

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