Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Mayhaw Man

Soft Shell Crab

Recommended Posts

KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid!

No milk, no weights, no Old Bay, just clean just before cooking(do not let your fish monger clean them for you or you will lose moisture), sprinkle with Wondra, season with white pepper & salt, into the hot unsalted butter. So what if it Pops! Putting a weight on them will steam them.

Serve with lemon wedge and stand back because if truly fresh and still moving when cleaned and not limp and dead as some purveryors will try to sell you, they will evaporate!

Oh yes, a nice white Burgundy will enhance one of natures true wonders, the 'Beautiful Swimmer' which is part of the latin name of the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) and the title of an excellent book, 'Beautiful Swimmers' on the blue crab.-Dick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Soft Shells have appeared in the NYC area, and I'm going to make a batch this weekend - any tips or suggestions?

We went to a favorite place in Chinatown (Oriental Garden) and pigged out on several orders of them (they were outstanding):

gallery_11181_3830_90619.jpg

I would say they were deep fried (which I'm not looking to do myself) - but I'm hoping for tips and suggestions on sauteeing. Simple and crisp is fine with me, too.

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Softshells..........sigh.........softshells........... :wub:

Panfried, with a light breading (panko works well, after a light egg wash).

Sauteed w/ garlic & shallots, drippings deglazed w/ liquid of choice and then some buttah swirled in.

GRILLED.....oh swoon........grilled softshells.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Soft-shelled crabs, hmmmmm <<insert Homeresque drooling noise>>

Had a batch of these in my uncle's chinese restaurant last weekend, they are truly wonderful. I've had great success with these at home just tempura-ed. If you really don't fancy deep-frying at home then i second Pierogi's motion to bread them.

A thai-style dipping sauce goes wonderfully with these: birds-eye chilli, half a small shallot, small spring of corinader all chopped finely, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp soy, 2tsp fish sauce, 3 tsp cold water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

gallery_42700_4655_62418.jpg

Was panfried, and served with some sort of zucchini spaghetti, with what looks like some sort of sauce vierge with cucumber ?? through it... errr was a while ago that one. :raz:

The crabs would of been lightly dusted in flour, seasoned with salt and pepper and pan-fried with some olive oil before being drained on paper. Love them pan-fried :biggrin:


Edited by aussiebarracuda (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

panfried either dusted, crusted or battered...all good

If dusted you can cover with a weight(brick in foil) to make them cook up firmer...

Watch Out they Spit and Spatter pretty bad

tracey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like them grilled, but in an case, a simple preparation is best. Their flavor is so wonderful that not much needs to be done to them

gallery_12506_2882_825121.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lightly dusted with flour and then fried in a skillet

I love them in between two slices of good bread with tomato, lettuce, and a tiny bit of mayo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the softshells were just too beautiful in the market to pass up:

gallery_11181_4668_38816.jpg

so I took home a dozen, dredged them in Wondra flour with salt and pepper, and sauteed them with olive oil and butter:

gallery_11181_4668_31669.jpg

Plated with some heirloom tomatoes marinated with lots of fresh basil and Greek olive oil, it was a very nice combination when the crab mingled with the tomato oil:

gallery_11181_4668_78500.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just picked up a dozen prime soft shell crabs for $20.  I was very happy with the price and the crabs.  I should have gone for the cleaning for extra two dollars but I was cheap. 

I going to do the first 4 for dinner tonight.  I dredging in flour mixed with old bay and sautee them in butter and oil combo. 

Would appreciate hearing about your fav. recipes for me to try for the remaining one.

Soup

As soon as the crabs are cleaned they start to lose moisture and dessicate. $2 a crab or all 12?

I've been cooking soft shells for more years than I can remember. Never order in a restaurant anymore because you are probably getting crabs that were frozen or cleaned and preserved in chemicals.

Wondra flour, white pepper/salt and butter or oil. Once in awhile we use Panko flakes with honey in peanut oil.

BTW, Gumbos call for hardshell blue crabs.-Dick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A dozen primes for $20? What's this year's price?

Portland ME waterfront fishmonger is charging $4.29 each - $4.79 ea for hotels. :hmmm:

markk: Looks like that's a hot-hot saute to get those crabs so dark. True?


Edited by johnnyd (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John

In NJ i got mine for 3.00 each at a place called Giant Farmers Market

tracey

good thing they were cheap :sad:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my friend Carolyn grew up on the Eastern Shore and makes the best soft shells of anyone--no flour--she just puts them in big saute pan with tons of butter and garlic, covers the pan, and cooks them til they are done-- she then deglazes the pan with white vermouth and serves them with lemon wedges--someday if i get tired of her method i'll try another way, but I think that's a long time in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
my friend Carolyn grew up on the Eastern Shore and makes the best soft shells of anyone--no flour--she just puts them in big saute pan with tons of butter and garlic, covers the pan, and cooks them til they are done-- she then deglazes the pan with white vermouth and serves them with lemon wedges--someday if i get tired of her method i'll try another way, but I think that's a long time in the future.

Another use for my Noilly Prat. Outstanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have to stop by Parkway Bakery on Sundays (in NOLA) - they do a SSC po-boy that was the closest application to perfect i've had. If its true that food euphoria is closely related to ones personal time/space continuum - its perfection may have been related to my hangover those 2 crabs did battle with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My local fish monger has told me they are expecting the first soft shellies in this week!

Fried Crabs and live spotted B C PRawns are on the menu this Sat, thats for sure!!!

mmmmmmmm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I had to bump this thread up, because I spotted the first soft shell crabs this season last Saturday. These were fresh, not live, but better than none at all. I asked about them today and was told another case would be arriving Saturday morning. I will be ready for them! As the season gets rolling, I can usually track down live ones. Lightly floured and seasoned, fried in hot butter and served on a warm roll with some kimchi tarter sauce will be my season opener.

HC


Edited by HungryChris (log)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then it's time to road-trip to Mary Mahoney's (assuming the Gulf soft-shell season is the same as the Connecticut soft-shell season, which it probably is not) in Biloxi, Miss. This Redneck Riviera classic of a restaurant has an appetizer of a half-dozen small soft-shells, about silver-dollar-sized. I have been known to eat two plates of those as an entree.

 

Mary Mahoney's is worth a look, if you're not familiar with it. And decidedly worth a stop, if you're down there. I have a friend who will go from Memphis to Biloxi just to eat there.

 

The other master of soft-shell crab is Antoine's in NOLA.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love soft shell crabs. I’m curious about when they’re in season though. All the local sushi places offer it year round which makes me a bit skeptical. 

  I prefer it lightly fried with a butter/ lemon/ caper sauce. I’ve never cooked it though. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw them at my local supermarket over the weekend, cleaned, in individual plastic bags. I wouldn’t buy them there, not likely to be the freshest. Considering how they spit and pop when cooked, I will leave it to the restaurant to cook for me!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MetsFan5 said:

I love soft shell crabs. I’m curious about when they’re in season though. All the local sushi places offer it year round which makes me a bit skeptical. 

  I prefer it lightly fried with a butter/ lemon/ caper sauce. I’ve never cooked it though. 

 

I think they have been frozen (like most of the sushi we eat)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only had fried soft shells once at Sanitary Fish Market in Morehead City, NC. There is a big charter boat fishing business there, and that's why I was there. It's right on the water, and has been there since 1938. You see out the windows at dusk the fishing boats coming into port with the charters having all the catch hung up for people to see. The commercial boats keep the catch chilled, as it should be, but this is a big charter fishing port, so you get a big parade of boats showing off the catch in our hot and humid air, so as to get more charter customers. When I tried the Sanitary, it was in the late 80's and it was better than it is now. I just ordered the wrong thing. I was curious and didn't understand the season for live soft shells. I'm sure I would not have agreed to go out on a charter fishing boat in April or even May. It had to be further into summer.

 

My one example must have been frozen and it seemed to have spent too much time regrowing its shell. It made me very sad I ordered it, because my dining companions' food looked good.

 

They did bring in a spiny lobster that night from one of the fishing boats that sold it to the restaurant and they have an aquarium for such purchases. This thing was as long as my whole arm! It had no claws like the Maine kind, but I still wish I'd ordered that instead of soft shells. Who knows how much it would've cost, though.

 

A question for those who have had good soft shells: Do they typically not have a chitinous shell to try to deal with/chew through?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read season is pretty much all summer... April/May through to September... and that jives with availability around here.  I'd imagine that they could be a year round thing if some aquaculture guys figured out how to trick the crabs in a tank into thinking it is molting season.  Must be a water temperature thing, and if there's anything in a tank you _can_ control, it's the temperature.  This seems like a paper with more than anybody might possible care to know about production of the beasties.  As the paper says, they'll harden up within hours of molting unless you yank them right out of the water. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

And TftC, no, they should not be chitinous or like biting your fingernails .


Edited by cdh (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Thanks for the Crepes said:

A question for those who have had good soft shells: Do they typically not have a chitinous shell to try to deal with/chew through?

 

I have occasionally gotten one that had a new "shell" that had gone what I considered to be a step too far...unpleasantly chewy. But a GOOD soft-shell, while there's a slight texture difference what would have become the shell and the inner meat, it's about like the difference in texture in the skin and the interior of a grape or a peach. (Minus the peach fuzz,  of course.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×