French in a Flash: Soft-Shell Crab Meunière

French in a Flash

Quick and easy recipes that prove that great French food doesn't require a tall hat and a fancy kitchen.

French in a Flash: Soft-Shell Crab Meuni\u00e8re
  • Yield:serves 2 to 4
  • Active time:10 minutes
  • Total time:10 minutes
This recipe appears in:
How to Clean Soft-Shell Crabs

[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

Sole Meunière is one of the giants of deliciousness in French cuisine. I think it's the dish that Meryl Streep moons over rapturously in Julie & Julia. And for good reason. Thin, slightly crisped fillets of sole soaked in lemony brown butter. What could be better?

Maybe, just maybe, soft-shell crabs can. When I saw them at the store this week and thought of how my mom always sautés them up in butter, I wonder if I couldn't hybrid the two and prepare the crabs à la Meunière: plunged in milk, lightly dredged in flour, seared, and then bathed in that brown butter with just a hint of lemon. Nothing goes better with seafood than melted butter. Lemon brown butter is just that bit more special.

I think I might finally have maman trumped!

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way.


  • 4 jumbo soft-shell crabs, prepared by your fishmonger
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 5/8-inch slice of lemon
  • Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)


  1. 1.

    Place the crabs in a bowl of milk. Season the flour with the salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the crabs in the seasoned flour.

  2. 2.

    In a wide skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Place the other two tablespoons of butter in a small saucepot over medium-low heat. Melt the butter, and then continue to gently cook it until the butter solids turn golden brown. Add in the lemon slice and remove from the heat.

  3. 3.

    Place the crabs in the skillet with the butter and sauté until golden brown, turning once, about 3 minutes per side. Arrange on a platter, and pour the lemony butter sauce over the crabs. Garnish with parsley and/or extra lemon wedges.

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