By David Cohen
Soft-shell crab season has begun, and it’s a short one so don’t wait! Anyone that’s made them before knows how easy they are to prepare, as is lemon aioli, the perfect accompaniment. Whether you eat them hot out of the pan or sandwiched between a grilled buttered bun, soft-shell crabs mean the start of summer.
When you get your crabs, ask the folks at the fish counter to clean them for you -- much easier. To cook the crabs, generously salt and pepper both sides, dredge in flour and fry for a few minutes per side in a medium hot pan with just enough vegetable oil to barely cover the bottom. When they’re crispy golden, remove and drain for half a minute on a brown paper bag or paper towel.
The aioli can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Separate a room temperature egg and then slide the yolk into a small bowl. Add the juice from a quarter of a lemon and 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, whisk well.
Slowly drizzle about ¼ cup olive oil into the bowl while whisking constantly. If it starts to separate, hold off on the oil and whisk until it comes back together. When it’s about the consistency of a thin mayonnaise, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Depending on what else you’re serving, you may want to also whisk in a minced clove of garlic.