Servings: Serves 4
Ingredients 3 cups canola oil1 cup buttermilk8 small soft-shell crabs , cleaned1 cup all-purpose flour1/2 cup cornmeal1 teaspoon salt3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper1/4 cup mayonnaise , plus more to taste1 loaf French bread , cut into 4 equal pieces, halved horizontally and toasted8 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves8 slices dill pickle2 Creole or beefsteak tomatoes , slicedHot sauce , to taste
In a large, deep sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat, bring oil to 350° on a deep-fat thermometer.
While oil heats, pour buttermilk into a shallow dish. Place crabs in buttermilk; turn to coat and let stand 5 minutes. On another plate, mix flour, cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Season crabs with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then remove crabs from buttermilk one at a time and coat with flour mixture. Place crabs on a baking sheet.
Carefully add crabs, four at a time, to hot oil. Cook until golden, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. With a slotted spoon, transfer crabs to paper towels to drain.
Spread mayonnaise on cut sides of bread. Top each bottom half with two lettuce leaves, two pickle slices and tomato slices. Sprinkle tomatoes with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Top with crabs. Add top halves of bread. Serve with hot sauce.