Food & Drink

Soft-Shell Crab Season: Grilled

Kick off cookout season with crab on the grill

Photo: Haidar Karoum

Haidar Karoum is a busy man. Over the past five years, the northern Virginia native has opened three popular restaurants in Washington, D.C. And when Karoum isn’t crouched over the hot stoves at Proof, Estadio, or Doi Moi, he’s traveling the world in search of culinary inspiration—particularly for the latter two restaurants, a tapas joint and a pan-Asian spot. This time of year, however, Karoum is just as susceptible to the charms of the soft-shell crab as any other chef in D.C. At Doi Moi, he brushes softies with scallion oil, grills them, and plates them with a simple Vietnamese dip that brings welcome hits of salt, heat, and citrus to the table.


  • For the crab

    • 1 crab

    • 1 tbsp. olive or scallion oil (recipe below)

    • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

  • Scallion Oil

    • 3/4 lb. scallions (about 2 bunches)

    • 4 cups canola oil

  • Dip

    • 4 tbsp. salt

    • 1 tbsp. black pepper

    • 3 tbsp. lime juice


  1. For the crab:

    Toss the crab with oil and season with salt and pepper. Drop onto a medium-hot gas or charcoal grill and cook for six minutes on each side, or until nicely browned and firm to the touch. Remove with a spatula.

  2. For the scallion oil:

    Combine scallions and oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring oil to a gentle simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool overnight, and strain. (Makes 4 cups)

  3. For the dip:

    Combine all ingredients and serve in a ramekin alongside cooked crabs. (Makes enough for 4 crabs)

Recipe from Haidar Karoum of Doi Moi in Washington, D.C.