Sauce: 1½ cup mayonnaise 3/8 cup finely chopped dill pickles 3/8 cup finely chopped red onions, soaked in ice water for 15 minutes, drained and patted dry. 3 Tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained, and patted dry. ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice ½ to 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, or to taste, minced Salt and pepper
Crab: 8 small soft-shelled crabs, cleaned thoroughly Whole milk, for soaking the crabs 1 cup all-purpose flour Salt and pepper Vegetable oil, for sautéing Lime wedges, for garnish
To make the tartar sauce, stir all the sauce ingredients together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate while making the crabs. To prepare the crabs, place them in a bowl with just enough milk to cover them. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. When the crabs have finished soaking, season the flour with salt and pepper to taste and transfer it to a shallow pie dish lined with parchment paper. Working in batches, remove the crabs from the milk, letting the excess drip off, and dredge them in the flour mixture, lifting up the sides of the parchment paper to help coat the crabs evenly with the flour. Add ¼ inch vegetable oil to a large skillet and heat over moderately high heat until almost smoking. Add the crabs to the skillet, shell side up first, and cook on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, until brown and crisp. Be careful- they splatter. As the crabs finish cooking, transfer them to a platter, shell side down, and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat the procedure with the remaining crabs. Serve the crabs immediately, topping each portion with the tartar sauce and a lime wedge.