Devil Crab

Recipe courtesy of Mario Batali's Big American Cookbook

Makes 8 to 10 pieces



  • 2 loaves sliced white bread
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ green bell pepper, finely diced (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely diced (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ small onion, finely dices (about ½ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Colman's dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 8 ounces crabmeat, any mix of lump, claw, and backfin
  • Canola or corn oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Devil Crab

Devil Crab

Click image to enlarge


In a food processor, grind one or the loaves of bread into bread crumbs. You should get about 5 cups of crumbs.

Remove and discard the crust from the other loaf. Tear the bread into large pieces, place in a large bowl, and add water to cover. Pour out into a large sieve and drain. Wrap the saturated dough in a clean tea towel, twist it closed, and squeeze as much water as possible out. You won't get it all, and that's fine.

Put the soaked white-bread "dough" in a large bowl and add the paprika and about a teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of the bread crumbs and stir to incorporate. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour while you make the filling.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the bell peppers and onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley, Worcestershire, mustard, and hot sauce and mix to heat through and incorporate. Remove from the heal, add the crab, and stir carefully to incorpo­rate, but try to avoid breaking the meat. Let the filling cool completely.

When ready to assemble, divide the dough into 8 to 10 uniform balls. Dust your work surface with some bread crumbs, reserving the rest. Working one at a time, roll each ball of the dough in the reserved bread crumbs. Flatten the ball on the work surface and use a rolling pin to roll a 6-inch disc, about ¼ inch thick. Add ¼ cup of the crab filling, carefully toll the dough around the filling, and pinch the sides together to make a croquette that is roughly football-shaped ... or crab-shaped, if your mind is open. Sprinkle some more of the crumbs on top and set on a parchment-lined tray while you repeal to use all the dough and crab.

In a large, straight-sided skillet, heal about 1 inch of oil to 350°F.

Working in batches to avoid crowding, carefully add the croquettes to the oil and fry util golden brown, about 2 minutes, then flip and fry the other side another minute or 2. Drain on paper towels and season with salt immediately. Serve with lemon wedges.


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