Garlic Crabs

At the Mosquito Supper Club in New Orleans, Melissa Martin only serves recipes from her family. “It’s the same things my mom or grandma would cook – Cajun food, cooked exactly the way I was taught. I think that’s really important. I wanted it to feel like a Sunday supper where you come in and sit down at a big table, family style. We really wanted to create an atmosphere of slow, easy eating, where people could get to know each other.”  Here she shares her family’s recipe for Garlic Crabs.


For the Crabs:


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • ½ dozen blue crabs (boiled, cleaned and halved)
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 2 T LA hot sauce
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 Bay Leaves

  • Add the onions, celery, garlic, lemons, cayenne, hot sauce, salt and bay leaf to a large stockpot.
  • Fill the pot halfway with cold water and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer for an hour, bring back to a boil then add crabs.
  • Cook the crabs for 8 minutes, remove and shock in an ice bath.
  • Clean crabs and halve, then start the sauce.


For the Sauce:


  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tblsp. Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, divided

Preheat the oven to 450º F.  Finely chop together parsley leaves and 6 of the garlic cloves. Combine in a bowl with the zest of 1 lemon and set aside. In a bowl toss the halved crabs with salt, pepper, cayenne, hot sauce and bay leaves. Heat a large cast iron skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and 6 whole pieces of garlic. When garlic becomes fragrant add crabs and sauté on each side for about 3 minutes flipping only once. Add 2 T of the butter and coat crabs evenly. Place the pan in preheated oven for 6 minutes flipping crabs only once. Remove from the oven, add remaining butter and the parsley, garlic & lemon zest mixture to the skillet and toss. Finish with lemon juice to taste. Serve with rice or crusty bread.