Soft-shell crabs al pastor

Soft-shell crabs al pastor

By
From
Cantina
Serves
4
Photographer
Chris Middleton

Tacos al pastor, meaning shepherd’s style, involves titanic spits of marinated pork shoulder – a truly deserving cult street food from Mexico. The cumin flavours of the marinade against the tangy sweet and sour pineapple add a lovely tropical note. As a seafood lover I wanted to try a seafood version of this dish, which led me to the soft-shell crab. My travels have taught me crab likes spices and spices like crab! Serve with tortillas or a fresh cooling salad if desired.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
8 soft-shell mud crabs, feathery glands removed
125g Al pastor marinade
rice bran oil, for deep-frying
sea salt, to taste
Smoky rojo sauce

Coating

Quantity Ingredient
200g coarse masa harina flour
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

Caramelised pineapple

Quantity Ingredient
200g fresh pineapple, cut into 5 mm slices
small pinch cumin seeds
50ml olive oil
55g brown sugar
50g unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Method

  1. Coat the crabs in the al pastor marinade. Place on a tray, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. To prepare the caramelised pineapple, preheat a medium non-stick frying pan over high heat until extremely hot. Add the pineapple slices facing down flat so they char and begin to caramelise. Add the cumin seeds then the olive oil and sugar and cook until the sugar begins to caramelise. Stir in the butter. Continue to cook the pineapple, turning to coat. Add the vinegar and simmer until reduced to a thin caramel. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool, turning the pineapple occasionally, to coat.
  3. Half-fill a large heavy-based saucepan with rice bran oil and heat the oil to 180°C.
  4. To prepare the coating, combine the flour and spices in a large bowl. Dredge the crabs in the coating and shake off any excess.
  5. Cook the crabs in the oil in batches, for 2–3 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towel. (The crabs are being fried twice, so they do not need to be cooked all the way through the first time.)
  6. Refry the crabs for 2 minutes, or until crisp, golden brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towel and season with salt. Arrange the crab either on one communal plate or on individual serving plates with the caramelised pineapple and rojo sauce and serve immediately.
Tags:
Latin
Mexican
Mexico
Cantina
Paul Wilson
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