Elegant Eating, For One

With Rob still in Italy and the girls working or otherwise away, this weekend I found myself with the very rare occurrence of having no places to go or people to see. So instead of sulking, I opted to take Saturday night as the opportunity to have some quality 'me time' - or, if you will, I had a date with myself.

Dating yourself is quite possibly the most satisfying way to date. You know from the start that you're building a relationship that will last. You don't have to worry about infidelity. You always get to choose the restaurant, and you never have to pretend you're in the mood to see Baywatch or anything else.
~ Cameron Tuttle, The Bad Girl's Guide to Getting What You Want.

I cleaned the apartment, chilled some white wine, lit a candle, and settled in for the night with a cozy blanket and the classic film noir Double Indemnity. And I made myself an absolutely delicious, even decadent, dinner for one.

adapted from the all-new Joy of Cooking

two soft-shell crabs, fresh or thawed if frozen
(optional: buttermilk and Old Bay seasoning)
2 tsp grapeseed oil
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp orange muscat champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar, or lemon juice)
1-2 scallions, finely chopped

Optional step: Particularly if they've been frozen, as these were for quite some time, I like to soak the crabs in seasoned buttermilk or milk to cover for at least an hour - I think it adds a bit of flavor in sweetening them and eliminates any fishy or other smells they might have from the freezer. Clean the crabs before soaking.
Otherwise . . .
clean the crabs and carefully pat dry. Line a small baking pan with foil, shiny side down, and preheat the oven to 500 F. Lightly brush the crabs on both side with the grapeseed oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on the prepared pan, shell-side up, in the preheated oven and roast for 4-6 minutes or until the shells have turned color and are crisp.
Meanwhile, make the buerre noisette: in a small skillet or saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat. Shake the pan from time to time to swirl the butter about as it cooks. Be particularly careful as it foams not to let it burn. Let it cook until it smells toasted nutty and is colored a light brown. Immediately transfer to a small measuring cup or bowl and whisk in the vinegar and some salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the brown butter sauce over the hot crabs and sprinkle with scallions.
The quantities for both crabs and butter sauce can be easily multiplied; however, the cooking time for the crabs remains the same.