SOFT-SHELLED CRAB SANDWICHES
8 live softshelled crabs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
8 English muffins
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Have the fishmonger clean crabs, each about 2 to 3 ounces, or clean them (see cleaning instrucitons below). In a dish combine vegetable oil, garlic cloves, Old Bay seasoning (available at fish markets), and salt and pepper to taste. Add the crabs, patted dry, turn them to coat them with the mixture, and let them marinate, covered and chilled, for at least 2 hours.
Have ready English muffins, split in half and flattened with a rolling pin. In a small saucepan combine unsalted butter, lemon juice and parsley leaves, shallot, and salt and pepper to taste, heat the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, until the butter is just melted, and reserve it.
Drain the soft-shelled crabs, put in a grill basket or arrange them over glowing coals for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until they turn red. Grill the English muffins, turning them once, until they are crisp and browned lightly, brush the split sides with the reserved herb butter, and sandwich 1 grilled crab between 2 muffin halves.
* To clean soft-shelled crabs:
Rinse live soft-shelled crabs under running cold water. With scissors cut off the heads about 1/4 inch behind the eyes and cut off the white gills. Peel back the aprons, cut them off, and rinse the crabs again.