Prepare a marvelous spring meal with this recipe for ale-battered soft-shell crab, pea-shoot pistou, and sauteed ramps from chef Sean Brock.
In a large bowl, whisk together benne seeds, beer, and flour until well combined; season with a pinch of salt. Transfer batter to refrigerator and let chill for 30 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add morels and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add ramps, peas, and vegetable stock; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until ramps are wilted and peas are bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, fill a large Dutch oven 5 inches high with canola oil. Heat oil over high heat until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.
Remove batter from refrigerator and dredge each crab in batter, shaking off excess. Transfer crabs to hot oil and cover Dutch oven with a splatter guard (crabs will sizzle and pop while cooking). Cook, turning once, until crabs are golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer crabs to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
Place a tablespoon of butter in each of 2 medium nonstick skillets; heat skillets over medium heat until butter is frothy. Reduce heat to low and crack an egg into each skillet; cook, basting whites with butter using a spoon, until whites are set but yolks are still runny. Season with salt and pepper. Remove eggs from skillets and repeat process with remaining 2 eggs.
Divide pistou evenly among 4 serving plates. Place a crab on each plate and top each with an egg. Divide morels, ramps, and peas evenly among plates; garnish each with a pea shoot and benne seeds. Serve immediately.