Peekytoe Crab Stuffed Sole

New England seafood favorites, sole and a sweet Maine crab.

Nubble light house, York, Maine. We try to visit every year!

We finally got out of town! A few days at the sea shore, and we are refreshed and ready for spring. It felt like winter when we left, a driving icy rain that turned to sleet now and then, lots of fog, and winter shoes. After arriving at the hotel, a swim and an amazing dinner, we retired looking forward to a day of sunshine, and we were indeed rewarded.

Enjoying the seaside

Yes, we walked the beach, looked for shells, visited the Nubble lighthouse, did a little casual shopping, and had our lobsters, lobster rolls, and fried clams. Dinners were delightful, with the best of Maine seafood, starting with a great selection of local oysters which we greedily consumed before remembering to snap a picture!

Peekytoe crab

On the way out, I picked up some frozen Peekytoe crab, a delightfully sweet local rock crab that is among my favorite shellfish delights. When asked, you’ll find a number of different theories about the origin of calling these Atlantic rock crabs Peekytoe. The one I like the best and makes some sense is that it is a slang name that comes from “picked toe” because of the sharp points that turn inward. Picked would be pronounced with the Maine accent making it two syllables, pick-ed, (rhyming with wicked, a much used New England qualifier meaning very, or really), and it evolved to peekytoe. Sounds good to me.

Now, let’s continue the fun

After four days of enjoying other people’s dishes, the first thing I want to do was cook! A Sunday night supper of sole stuffed with the crab kept us firmly at the shore. My sole were on the small side, so in order to roll it up I had to overlap two or three filets together and it worked out perfectly. You can also use flounder or whatever flat fish you like, local if possible.

A food memory

A few scallions, mushrooms, and fresh tarragon were all that was needed to enhance the filling. Years ago, at a French restaurant, I enjoyed a marvelous sole stuffed with bay scallops and Swiss cheese, and covered with a velvety thick Mornay sauce. I have made versions of this many times over the years, and more recently experimented to lighten it up a bit while keeping the flavor.

A little cheese

I chose a nutty smoked vegan Swiss cheese. While most of the vegan cheeses leave something to be desired, there is a smoked version that is quite tasty when melted. It worked well here, the mild smoke added a lovely element while not overpowering the crab. If I were making this with dairy, I would use our local Boggy Meadows Farms Smoked baby Swiss, an absolutely delightful cheese!

Simple sauce

The sauce is simple, the juices from the baking dish thickened with a small bit of flour, which is optional, you can just strain the juice and leave it at that. Or, if you want the sauce richer, after straining, just add a few tablespoons of full-fat coconut milk or heavy cream to the strained juice in the saucepan and cook until the desired thickness.

All in all, this is a pretty quick dish to make. But rest assured, it’s wicked good!

Peekytoe Crab Stuffed Sole

  • 1 lb. sole or other flatfish
  • 2 oz. smoked Swiss cheese, dairy or vegan, grated
  • 8 oz. Maine peekytoe crab, or other domestic crab
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced or if small whole
  • 2 to 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • A few sprigs of tarragon
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp. flour


  • ½ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. vegan or dairy butter

            Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an oval baking dish and cut a piece of parchment to fit.

            Pat the fish dry. If the fish are large enough, use one per serving. Smaller ones can be pieced together, as I did here, to create four packets. Season lightly, and divide the cheese among the four portions.

            My crab was frozen, so after thawing, I squeezed any excess water from it into the baking dish. Check for any bits of shell. Divide among all four portions. 

            Sprinkle a few mushroom and scallion pieces on each bundle and season with salt and pepper. Then, carefully roll them up and place seam side down in the dish. 

            Add any remaining scallions and mushrooms to the dish along with the tarragon and wine.

            Cover with parchment and a large piece of aluminum foil pressed tightly around the dish.

            Bake for 15 minutes, remove the parchment and foil, and check. It will probably need another five minutes or so, or until a knife inserted in the fish meets no resistance.

            While the fish is cooking, combine the fresh breadcrumbs and butter in a small skillet and cook until it starts to brown. By cooking the crumbs separately, you can brown them as desired, and cook the fish perfectly.

            Remove the fish from the oven, place on a plate, and cover to keep warm. 

           Strain the juice from the pan into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Mix the flour with two tablespoons of water and whisk into the sauce. Cook until the sauce thickens.

            Pour the sauce into the serving platter, place the fish on top, and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and a bit more fresh minced tarragon.

There’s always a beautiful pink sunrise over the Atlantic!

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53 Comments Add yours

  1. I love a stuffed fish and this looks delicious!

    1. Thank you Marilyn! It was really tasty!

  2. Two of my favorites, sole and crab meat!

    1. They go together beautifully!

  3. Growing up working in Country Clubs, stuffed fish with crab meat was a staple on menus. But the price is so outrageous these days, you need a loan to grab a tin of good crab meat. That being said, I do love this dish, brings back many memories of my youth

    1. Thank you Charlie! Seafood has indeed become quite expensive, and that’s why the catch of the day is where I look first!

  4. I’m so glad you had a wonderful getaway, there is nothing like the coastal waters to bring one peace and relaxation! I envy the fresh lobster, hard to come by in the South, and of course the recipe you whipped up with crab sounds wonderful!

    1. Thank you Jenna! It was so very good to get away and feel at least a little normal. It’s always calming to see the ocean and feel the breezes, even the cold ones!

  5. terrie gura says:

    I can almost smell the salty sea! This looks wonderful, and very timely. Just now on Food Networks “The Kitchen,” chef Alex was making a salad with peekytoe crab!

    1. Amazing! I never see it mentioned anywhere, and it’s hard to find even a couple of hours inland!

  6. This sounds very delicious, Dorothy.

    1. Thank you Robbie! We just loved it.

  7. terrie gura says:

    Yes, I had not heard of peekytoe before, so my ears perked up when they mentioned it on TV! I think you’re ahead of the curve! For all we know, Alex Guarnaschelli may be following your blog! 😉

    1. That would be funny! I truly don’t remember seeing any cooking site that used peekytoes! So many times I’ve thought of a recipe, thinking it is unique, and I google it and see others have already done it. Then I have to start again and give it a different spin. Best not to google these things!

  8. Great combination of ingredients in this exquisite dish!
    Glad you had a nice time at the beach. 🙂

    1. It was great! We got to really relax and get away from this house.

  9. You were at Nubble? You were close! Sounds like you had a great adventure and some mighty fine eating away and at home. Remember back in the day when people would talk about being on an island and who they wanted to be with? I want you on my island so I can work in the garden but you can prepare the meals. 🙂

    1. Perfect Judy! I’ll cook and you can help a little, and you can work on the garden and I’ll help you a little! There should be lots of seafood…

  10. Ally Bean says:

    This dish looks delicious. I now know to look for smoked Swiss cheese. I’ve never seen it– or if I did it didn’t register.

    1. You’ll see it now that you look for it! The local one is so delicious, and there are some local smoked provolone style that are also wonderful.

  11. NativeNM says:

    I wish we had access to the fresh seafood like what you have displayed today! It looks delicious!

    1. Thank you Jan! We had such a nice time, and indulged in some wonderful and memorable dishes.

  12. Nancy says:

    You had me at stuffed sole! This looks incredible!
    I am so happy you got away and enjoyed the seashore and all it’s yumminess. What fun! I can only imagine how tasty the lobster was… mmmmm!
    Happy New Week to You!

    1. Thank you Nancy! It was really good for the soul (little pun intended), and it was such a delight to feel a bit more normal, dine at a lovely restaurant, visit a clam shack, and mostly walk the beach and look at the waves while time sort of stands still.

      1. Nancy says:

        That’s what a Get Away with our sweetie can do… I am so glad you enjoyed!

  13. CarolCooks2 says:

    How lovely to get away it must have been as wonderful as this beautiful sole and crab dish…I love stiuffed fish 🙂 x

    1. It was a breath of fresh sea air and we didn’t even realize how much we needed it!

  14. Gail says:

    Your recipe is definitely restaurant-worthy. 😍🍃

    1. Ah thanks, and it’s quick and easy too!

  15. nancyc says:

    This sounds great, with that creamy sauce and the Swiss cheese! Your photo of the lighthouse makes me want to visit the seashore! 🙂

    1. Thanks Nancy! We always make a little pilgrimage to that lighthouse since our kids were little. They have viewing scopes so you can see the ships way out on the horizon!

  16. Christy B says:

    I like how you weave memories into your recipes here xx

    1. Thank you Christy! That’s what it’s all about!

  17. Oh yum, Maine seafood and that sauce! When we took a vacation there I ordered the largest lobster they had, it was huge! I was drooling when it came and was shocked that it didn’t taste half as good as the smaller ones. So we went back the next day and I ordered another lobster but smaller. I do LOVE lobster! Lol

    1. We had 1 1/2 lb, lobsters and they were terrific, so sweet as Maine lobsters usually are! A lot depends on the time of year, whether they are hard or soft shelled, and how they are cooked!

  18. Right up our street Dorothy.. lovely recipe..hugsx

    1. Thank you! We just loved this one!

  19. We used to live about 30 minutes away from the Nubble light house in York, Maine and always took visitors there. Peekytoe crab is great and perfect for your stuffed sole. Very New England. 😊

    1. Thank you Karen! It is a solid New England dish. Love the lighthouse, and of course a visit to Fox’s for lobster stew too!

  20. Chef Mimi says:

    You just love rubbing it in, don’t you?!!! I’m so happy we finally got to maine this past fall. I really hope to go again. Love your recipe!

  21. Jovina Coughlin says:

    I would love this dish. . Crab stuffed fish is delicious.

    1. Thank you Jovina! It’s really a good dish!

  22. petespringerauthor says:

    I’m on the west coast, but I’m traveling back east in a month. I’m looking forward to trying some of the fish on the eastern seaboard.

    1. You’ll be in for a treat!

  23. Nubble Lighthouse is a favorite spot for my husband and me as well!

    1. Such a special place Liz!

  24. This looks great!

    1. Thank you! It was really delicious!

  25. Good idea to cook the bread crumbs separately. It adds some nice texture to the stuffed sole, which can be a bit soft / without texture.

    1. Thanks Stefan! It does indeed benefit from a little texture, and I’m all for that in any dish.

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