Chef Cristian’s Soft Shell Crab

Chef Cristian's Soft Shell Crab! Yum!

Pan-fried soft shell crab is a Southern favorite amongst Americans. With its crunchy shell, and savory flesh, it’s no wonder that blue soft shell crab has become a favorite amongst crab lovers everywhere. There are many different recipes that you can do with soft shell crab. This is one that I like doing for fancy dinner parties.  

I chose Kelapo virgin coconut oil because of it’s coconut aroma and non-greasy consistency. It was perfect for giving the soft shell crab that crunchy outer texture while sealing in the juices.

I prepared this dish with cooked yuca root, red pepper chimichurri sauce, and a red cabbage and fennel slaw. You can serve it to your guests with fresh Florida limes and your favorite hot sauce.

NOTE: If it’s necessary to clean your soft shell crab, all you have to do is first, lift up the sides of the top shell. This will reveal the crab’s spongy guills. Remove them with your hands. Next you will turn the crab belly-up. You wll see the “apron” of the crab (an abdomen covering that connects to the crab’s rear) simply pull on this to remove it. And finally, with a pair of kitchen shears, cut the crab’s face off horizontally just behind the eyes. The rest of the entire crab is now edible.

Yields: 4 to 6 people

Ingredients for the crab:
– 4 to 6 soft shell crabs (fresh, live or frozen)
Kelapo virgin coconut oil


1. To pan-fry the crab, simply put about a tbsp of Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil into a skillet and and pan-fry the crabs for 5 to 8 minutes per side until crispy and cooked through. If previously frozen, make sure that they are completely thawed before cooking.

Ingredients for the yuca root:
– 4 to 6 pieces of yuca root (you can find it fresh or frozen)
– Salt
Kelapo virgin coconut oil


NOTE:  These instructions assume that you are using frozen yuca root. If you’re using fresh yuca root, you will probably have to peel it and cook it for a longer time, until it’s cooked all the way through. The final consistency should be somewhat like a potato when it’s fully cooked – you should be able to easily pierce it all the way through with a fork.  

1. Boil the yuca root in salted water for about 20 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

2. You may wish to drain them, cut them into smaller pieces and pan fry them for 5 minutes in 1 to 3 tbsp of coconut oil to add more flavor. But they can be eaten as is with a little salt and pepper after you drain them.

Ingredients for the red cabbage and fennel slaw:
– 2 cups of finely sliced raw red cabbage
– 2 cup of finely sliced raw fennel root
– Extra virgin olive oil
– Red wine vinegar
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1 tbsp of fresh chopped parsley
– ½ tbsp of fresh minced garlic


1. Slice the cabbage and fennel as thin as you can and toss them with the garlic, parsley salt and pepper to taste. Add about ⅓ cup of olive oil and a few sprinkles of red wine vinegar – you just keep adding both (the oil and vinegar)  a little at a time and tasting until it tastes right to you.

Ingredients for the chimichurri sauce:
– 1 handful of fresh parsley
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 1 chopped red pepper
– ½ tbsp of fresh thyme
– ½ cup of olive oil or more
– Salt and pepper to taste


1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend together until smooth. Season properly with salt and pepper.


– Chef Cristian Feher, Tampa Bay Chef Services

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