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Crispy Soft Shell Crab Sandwich with Calabrian Chili Mayo

Soft shell crabs are coated in a simple cornmeal batter and fried until crispy and served over an eggy brioche bun with juicy tomatoes, arugula and a spicy Calabrian chili mayonnaise.
Course Sandwich
Cuisine American
Keyword arugula, calabrian chili, chili, Crab, mayo, seafood, shellfish, soft shell crab, spicy mayo, summer, tomato
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 1084kcal


For the crispy soft shell crab:

  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large or 2 medium soft shell crabs, cleaned
  • Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying

For the calabrian chili mayo:

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Calabrian chili paste

For serving:

  • 2 Brioche buns, toasted
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup packed wild arugula


For the crispy soft shell crab:

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the egg and milk. In another medium shallow bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour, salt, garlic powder and pepper.
  • Fill a large cast-iron pan or dutch oven with enough vegetable oil to reach ½” up the pan. Heat the oil to 350ºF (180ºC).
  • Coat the crabs in the egg mixture then dredge in the cornmeal mixture, shaking off any excess cornmeal.
  • Add to the cast-iron pan back side down, working in batches if needed, and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and continue to fry the crabs until golden brown, about an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove to a cooling rack set over paper towels and set aside.

For the Calabrian chili mayo:

  • In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, olive oil and Calabrian chili paste until completely combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For serving:

  • Spread the Calabrian chili mayo on the bottom of the brioche buns. Lay 1 soft shell crab (or 2 if using smaller crabs) on each of the buns and top with slices of tomato and arugula. Close the sandwiches and serve immediately.


Calories: 1084kcal | Carbohydrates: 125g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 245mg | Sodium: 2966mg | Potassium: 483mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1196IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 169mg | Iron: 5mg