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Softshell Crab Ni«oise Salad

  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 1/2 pound new potatoes, quartered and blanched
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1/4 pound haricots verts, blanched
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 anchovy fillets, mashed
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 large or 8 small softshell crabs, cleaned
  • Oil, for frying
  • 6 cups packed watercress lettuce, cleaned and patted dry
  • 8 hard-boiled quail eggs, peeled
  • 16 NiÁoise olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves


  • Preheat the fryer.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, onions, beans, tomatoes and anchovies. Season with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, the garlic, salt and pepper. Toss well. Set aside. Season the softshells with salt and pepper. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the softshells in the seasoned flour, coating completely. Hold the body of the each crab, carefully drag the legs through the hot oil for about 30 seconds and then carefully lay in the hot oil. Fry until crispy and golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Fry the crabs in batches. Remove and drain on paper towels. Season with salt.
  • To assemble, toss the lettuce with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Mound the greens in the center of each plate. Arrange some of the potato mixture over the greens. Lay the crabs on top of the potato mixture. Lay the quail eggs and olives around the softshells. Garnish with parsley.