Soft shell crab:
1) Either preheat the fryer, or a Dutch oven filled halfway with oil, to 120C.
2) Clean the crabs and cover them with milk and buttermilk. Place in the refrigerator until chilled, about 10 minutes. Mix together the flours and seasonings.
3) Remove the crabs from the milk and drain the excess. Dip into the seasoned flour and shake off any excess. Carefully lower into the preheated oil. Fry for approximately 3 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Remove from the hot oil, drain and hold for final assembly.
Jumbo lump crab imperial:
1) In a small saute pan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour to form a light roux. Cook the roux briefly and stir in the milk and cream. Keep stirring and bring to a boil.
2) Add the sherry, lemon juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, seafood seasoning and salt and pepper, to taste. Remove from the heat, chill slightly and fold in the jumbo lump crabmeat, chives, parsley and mayonnaise. Reserve for final assembly.
Sweet corn pudding:
1) Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2.
2) Cut the corn kernels off the cob and scrape the cob with the back of a knife to remove the milk. Chop the cob into pieces. Heat the butter in a saute pan and add the shallots, garlic, corn and cob. Saute briefly for 1 minute.
3) Add the seafood seasoning, sugar and salt and pepper, to taste, and saute for an additional minute. Add the cream and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture steep for a few minutes. Discard the cob pieces and puree the corn/crab mixture.
4) Add 1/2 cup of the heated mixture to the eggs and whisk continuously. Then whisk the egg mixture back into the heated liquid (this is also known as tempering).
5) Strain and pour the mixture into six greased ramekins. Bake in the preheated oven in a water bath until the puddings set, about 25 minutes. Remove from the water and reserve warm for final assembly.
1) Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the ham, corn kernels, shallot, garlic and leek. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
2) Add the vermouth and oyster liquid (or bottled clam juice). Reduce by half and add the cream. Turn down the heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Add the seasonings and taste. Turn off the heat and add the oysters and herbs. Reserve for final assembly.
1) Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.
2) Carefully lift the top shell off the soft shell crabs and stuff with the crab imperial. Bake in the preheated oven for a few minutes while completing the dish.
3) Place a warm sweet corn pudding in each of six shallow heated bowls. Ladle the oyster stew into each bowl around the pudding with three oysters per serving. Carefully place a soft shell crab on each pudding.
Garnish with chives and corn shoots from your local farmers market, if using.