When you buy soft-shell crabs, have them cleaned at the fish market. Here, they are served on a bed of arugula with a Lemon-Red Pepper Confit.
Combine cornmeal, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or plate.
Whisk egg whites in a small bowl until just frothy. Dip crabs into egg whites to coat. Dredge them in the seasoned cornmeal, shake off excess, and set aside.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; arrange 4 crabs on their bellies in the pan. Cook until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer crabs to a plate and add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil to pan. Return crabs to pan, on their backs, and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes more. Remove crabs from skillet and keep warm on a baking sheet in a 300 degrees oven. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and crabs.
Divide arugula among four plates. Arrange 2 crabs over each plate of arugula, spoon confit over or around crabs, and serve.