Bursting with tangy juices, soft-shell crabs are the perfect sandwich filling. Here we present two styles, one a riff on a classic Maryland soft-shell sandwich with the addition of a tasty tomato salsa, the other a banh mi-style sandwich with ginger-chile mayo, pickled vegetables, and fresh cilantro.
'soft-shell crab' on Serious Eats
Inspired by both the Cantonese dish of crabs sautéed with scallions and ginger, and Vietnamese banh mi, these oversized soft-shell crab sandwiches feature lightly toasted soft baguettes packed with three crisp sautéed soft-shell crabs each, along with ginger-chili mayo, quick-pickled carrots and cucumbers, fresh scallions, and cilantro.
The classic Maryland-style soft-shell crab sandwich usually comes on white sandwich bread with mayo, sliced tomato, and lettuce. In this variation inspired by the original, we add a delicious tomato salsa made from oven-dried tomatoes, olive oil, basil, and red wine vinegar.
Cleaning your own live soft-shell crabs is incredibly easy, and guarantees that you're going to eat the freshest, best soft-shells possible. Here are the basic steps for preparing the soft-shells for cooking.
Everything tastes good on a crusty baguette with cucumbers, pickled veggies, mayonnaise, and plenty of cilantro and jalapenos. That's why Eater X, who must remain nameless due to his government job in Chinatown, invented this mashup of a salt baked soft shell crab from Great NY Noodletown stuffed into a vegetarian Vietnamese sandwich from Banh Mi Saigon.
Eastern Market, a public market with indoor and outdoor stalls hawking everything from fresh produce and poultry to handmade jewelry to tarot readings, has been in operation for well over 130 years on Capitol Hill. The market is particularly busy on weekends, and no place has longer lines than the indoor hall's Market Lunch. Their seasonal Softshell Crab Sandwich ($9.95) is exactly what it sounds like: a lightly fried softshell crab still hot from the fryer served open-face on a fluffy roll with romaine lettuce and a tomato slice (should you want it.) The crab itself actually tastes like crab, too!
So often, the key to the perfect meal is simplicity. On Nantucket Island, the Straight Wharf Fish Store is a local's one-stop shop for all things aquatic: lobsters, scallops, and cod just out of the waters outside. Resident fishmaster Walter (with a Red Sox cap on and a matching accent) supplies the freshest of the day’s catch to professional and amateur chefs alike. But he doesn’t just sell by the pound—he’ll fry you lunch right there on the dock. Soft shell crab sandwich; fish sandwich. The soft shell crab sandwich: 1. Procure crab. 2. Fry in pan. 3. Put on bun. Or the radically different fish sandwich: 1. Fillet fish, usually cod. 2. Fry in pan. 3. Put on...