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Soft-Shell Crabs with Spicy Tarter Sauce

One and one half cup mayonnaise (1 ½ cup)
Three eights cup finely chopped dill pickles (3/8 cup)
Three eights cup finely chopped red onions, soaked in ice water for 15 minutes, drained and patted dry. (3/8 cup)
3 Tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained, and patted dry.
One quarter cup chopped fresh cilantro (1/4 cup)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
One half to 1 chipole chile pepper in adobo sauce, or to taste, minced
Salt and pepper

8 small soft-shelled crabs, cleaned thoroughly
Whole milk, for soaking the crabs
1 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil, for sautéing
Lime wedges, for garnish

To make the tartar sauce, stir all the sauce ingredients together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate while making the crabs.
To prepare the crabs, place them in a bowl with just enough milk to cover them. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. When the crabs have finished soaking, season the flour with salt and pepper to taste and transfer it to a shallow pie dish lined with parchment paper. Working in batches, remove the crabs from the milk, letting the excess drip off, and dredge them in the flour mixture, lifting up the sides of the parchment paper to help coat the crabs evenly with the flour.
Add one quarter inch ( ¼ inch) vegetable oil to a large skillet and heat over moderately high heat until almost smoking. Add the crabs to the skillet, shell side up first, and cook on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, until brown and crisp. Be careful- they splatter. As the crabs finish cooking, transfer them to a platter, shell side down, and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat the procedure with the remaining crabs. Serve the crabs immediately, topping each portion with the tartar sauce and a lime wedge.


Alden’s Kicked-Up Cornbread

One half pound bacon, diced
One and one quarter cups all-purpose flour
Three quarters cup of enriched cornmeal
Two teaspoons baking powder
One teaspoon salt
One cup grated cheddar cheese
One and one half cups buttermilk
One quarter cup vegetable oil
Two whole eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to four hundred degrees.

Place the chopped bacon in a ten inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Render the bacon, stirring often, until most of the fat has released and the meat is crisp, seven to eight minutes. Remove the bacon from the skillet, and set aside, then transfer the pan with the bacon fat to the oven.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt with the cheddar cheese, then stir in the buttermilk, vegetable oil, and eggs, mixing until dry ingredients are just moistened. Fold the bacon into this batter

Remove the skillet from the oven, and pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cornbread is a light golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into its center comes out clean. Cut into wedges and serve warm.