- 2 heads bibb lettuce, cores trimmed and quartered
- 1/2 pound fennel bulb, tops removed, fronds reserved for garnish
- 1 (14-ounce) jar hearts of palm, drained and quartered on the bias
- 4 oranges, peeled and segmented
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes (each about 4 ounces), cut into eighths
- CUCUMBER YOGURT DRESSING:
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1/2 cup seeded, finely chopped cucumbers
- FRIED SOFT SHELL CRABS:
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 soft-shell crabs, cleaned
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- Preheat the fryer to 360 degrees F.
- For the dressing: Combine the yogurt, honey, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend. Add the cucumber, and mix well.
- Combine the buttermilk and eggs in a shallow pan and beat well and season with salt and pepper. Place crabs in buttermilk mixture and marinate for 1 hour. Combine flour and cornmeal and season with Essence. Remove the crabs from the marinade and let excess drip off. Dredge in the cornmeal mixture. Fry until golden brown and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Season with Essence.
- Arrange 2 lettuce quarters on each of 4 large plates. Top each with a portion of the shaved fennel. Arrange 2 sliced hearts of palm decoratively around the rim of the plate, and orange segments around the lettuce. Place 2 pieces of tomato at each of the 4 points of the plate. Drizzle the Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing decoratively over the salad, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
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