Grilled Soft-Shell Crabs with Kilt Greens

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Soft-Shell Crabs
Photo by Jason James

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Serves 2

  • 4 soft-shell crabs, 1 pound bacon (let sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking), 1 pound creasy greens (or sub watercress or arugula)*, 1 cup hominy, ½ cup pickled vegetables, 2 teaspoons dijon mustard, 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil, Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste|*Unless you live in the mountains, creasy greens can be tough to find. Arugula and watercress are close seconds.
  1. Clean the crabs: Rinse crabs under cold water and use a small brush to remove any dirt. Using sharp kitchen scissors, cut off the face just behind the eyes, then lift the edges on either side of the cut to reveal the gills and snip those off as well. Flip the crab over and pull off the triangle-shaped apron.
  2. In a cold, large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined tray to cool and chop. Reserve bacon fat—you’ll need about a half cup for the greens.
  3. Combine chopped bacon, greens, hominy, pickled vegetables, mustard, and vinegar in a metal bowl (the vessel must be metal, so use a pot or pan if necessary). Set aside.
  4. Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick pan over medium-high (or prepare charcoal grill). Brush crabs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook crabs, turning every couple of minutes and brushing with additional oil as needed, until they turn bright orange and are cooked through, about 7 to 9 minutes.
  5. While the crabs are cooking, heat ½ cup bacon fat in a small pot or pan (for safety, the fat should not fill the pot or pan by more than one-third). Heat over medium-high until you see wisps of smoke. Carefully pour the grease over the greens and stir gently, wilting the greens. You should hear the greens fry a little. Serve soft shells alongside kilt greens immediately.

From Soft-Shells Season.

  • Recipe from Clayton Rollison, Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

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