Could you please get the recipe for the Soft-Shell Crabs in Cornmeal Tempura at Magnolia Grill in Durham? They're the best I've ever had.
- A.E., Durham
With impeccable timing, A.E.'s request arrives at Specialty of the House Headquarters just in time to take advantage of peak soft-shell season (which should last well into June). Chef-owner Ben Barker responds quickly and generously, sharing his recipe for the softies along with suggested accompaniments of Fennel Slaw and Tomato Aioli.
Barker notes that if you like these recipes, you'll find them and dozens more in "Not Afraid of Flavor" (UNC Press, 2000) the cookbook he published with his wife, partner and pastry chef Karen. The cookbook is available in area bookstores.