Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Soft-Shell Crabs

6 soft-shell crabs, cleaned
1 quart buttermilk
48 ounces peanut oil
1 cup fine cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

1. Soak the crabs in buttermilk. Add the oil to a 5-quart Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until the temperature registers 375 degrees F on a deep-frying thermometer.

2. In a medium, shallow bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, cayenne, mustard powder, salt and the pepper.

3. Remove the crabs from the buttermilk, letting the excess drip off, and dredge each crab in the cornmeal-flour mixture. Gently lower the crabs into the oil (stand back as the oil may sputter; you may need to do this in 2 batches), and cook the crabs for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the crab coating is golden brown and crispy. Transfer the crabs to a paper-towel lined plate, season with more salt, and serve alongside lemon wedges.

Serves 2 for dinner, or 6 as a starter.

© 2019 Olga Massov