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Great Chef Patrick O'Connell

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Published on Jun 15, 2012

Great Chef Patrick O'Connell and his Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs with Hazelnuts

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Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs with Hazelnuts
Patrick O'Connell,
Inn at Little Washington
Washington VA
Appetizer, Great Chefs of the East #4

Sauteed soft shell crabs are served with tarragon-dressed green beans and a mixture of tomato, hazelnuts, coriander, and lime. Chive stems and blossoms provide a pretty garnish.

Serves 4

Mustard Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon dry mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Crabs
4 soft shell crabs, cleaned and dressed
Seasoned flour for dredging
1/2 cup clarified butter
2 tablespoons brown butter (beurre noisette)
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/3 cup toasted hazelnut slivers
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
Juice of 1 lime

Garnish
8 ounces haricots verts or Blue Lake green beans, blanched
1 tablespoon vinaigrette dressing
1 tarragon leaf, minced
8 lime segments
2 coriander leaves, cut into narrow strips
1 tablespoon snipped chives
8 to 12 chive blossoms

To prepare the sauce: Mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and mustards into a smooth sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

To prepare the crabs: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Dredge the crabs in the seasoned flour and shake off the excess. Heat the butter in an ovenproof saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat and add the crabs, top-side down. The butter should be hot enough to blister the crabs. Saute until golden brown, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, then turn and saute on the other side until browned, another 1-1/2 minutes. Turn the crabs back over, drain the liquid, and add the brown butter, tomato, hazelnuts, and coriander. Place in the oven and cook 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with lime juice.

To serve: Dress the beans with vinaigrette and tarragon and arrange them in a radial design on the plates, Place a crab on the green beans on each plate. Garnish the plates with the tomato, hazelnuts, lime, and coriander. Drizzle with mustard sauce and sprinkle with snipped chives and chive blossoms.

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