Soft Shell Crab Recipes…

live-soft-shell-crabs in bucket 2

Click on the photos to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to original size.

Hi everyone, 

Well, it’s that time again. The beginning of the season for soft shell crabs –  May through September. Outside of blue claw crab sauce over linguine, this is my favorite crab meal.

Soft shell crabs remind me of my Dad. He was always the first one to bring me a soft shell crab sandwich at the beginning of the season – never failed. It was piled high with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce and served with French fries and Cole slaw.

It was our tradition.

After our first soft shell crab sandwich of the season, there were many days that my Dad and I would go and have lunch at all the waterfront restaurants near my home and order soft shell crabs to see who prepared them the best. You would think we would get tired of them, but we never did.

Now you know just how much I love soft shell crabs. 

After all these years, I still can’t decide which way I like them better. I like a sandwich of fried soft shell crab with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce on a kaiser roll (traditionally served on toasted white bread), and I like sauteed soft shell crabs in garlic, white wine, lemon and butter sauce with steamed vegetables.

For those of you not familiar, a soft shell crab is the blue claw crab in its molted state, when they shed their hard shells to reveal a paper thin shell. This thin shell hardens within 2-3 hours so there is a brief period to harvest the soft shell crab .

bal-bs-disc-1-023-20130605-- soft shell crab shedding shell photo judy brunk

Eating a soft shell crab is a little difficult for some people to wrap their head around, because you eat the entire crab. That includes claws, head, legs and shell (minus the eyes and the lungs). Your fish monger will clean them for you. Buy live, fresh crabs and have them cleaned before you prepare them. If you see crabs wrapped in cellophane in a grocery or fish store, pass them by, they were frozen. 

If you prefer to clean the crabs yourself, here are some basic instructions:

  1. Remember you are starting with a live crab…
  2. Get a good sharp pair of kitchen shears and cut across the front of the crab, behind the eyes and mouth to remove them (approximately a 1/2 inch cut). This will kill the crab.
  3. Squeeze out the yellow contents of the sack located directly behind the cut you just made. This yellow sack is part of the digestive system and can be eaten – personal preference. ( I choose to remove it. Research shows that chemical contaminants, such as dioxin and mercury can accumulate in this area).
  4. Once you get over the trauma of killing the crab, lift one pointed corner of the top shell and remove the gills by pulling them out of the base. The gills are beige and feathery. Now repeat on the other side of the shell.
  5. Turn the crab over and there will be a flap called the apron. Lift the apron with your fingers and pull it off the body.
  6. Rinse the entire crab removing any more yellow “mustard” from the crab and pat dry.
  7. You are now ready to cook your crab. Enjoy!

*******************************************************************************

There are many different recipes for preparing soft shell crabs, but this is how I prepare them, both fried and sauteed. 

Start both recipes with cleaned and rinsed crabs patted dry…

Photo May 11, 3 24 55 PM - DEEP FRIED SOFT SHELL CRAB

Fried Soft Shell Crabs

Ingredients:

1 cup AP flour

¼ cup cornstarch

Salt and pepper

2 eggs

½ cup milk

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or homemade)

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tbsp. minced parsley

Grated cheese – to taste

To Serve:

Lettuce

Tomato

White toast or roll

Tartar sauce or mayonnaise

Cole Slaw

French Fries

Lemon wedges

Directions:

  • Heat 1-inch oil in a 12-inch skillet (I use olive oil, or you could use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable) over medium high heat until shimmering hot. Oil must be very hot, or the crabs will be soggy.
  • SET UP A BREADING STATION…
  • In a bowl combine 1 cup flour, ¼ cup cornstarch, salt, pepper, 1/2 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning – set aside
  • In another bowl, beat 2 eggs with ½ cup milk – set aside
  • In another bowl, combine 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or homemade), 1 cup panko bread crumbs, grated cheese, minced parsley, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Pat crabs dry
  • Toss in seasoned flour
  • Dip in egg & milk
  • Toss in bread crumb mixture
  • Repeat with remaining crabs
  • Place crabs in oil, shell side down
  • Be careful, the crabs can pop and spatter
  • Cook turning once, 3 minutes a side until golden
  • Transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle lightly with salt
  • Ready to eat…

********************************************************

 Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs

Photo Jul 19, 7 15 18 PM.jpg SOFT SHELL CRAB

Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil

1 ¼ cup AP flour

3 cloves of minced garlic

4 tbsp butter – divided

½ cup white wine

Juice of 2-3 lemons

2 tbsp minced parsley 

½ tbsp. Drained capers

SEASONING FOR FLOUR

1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. thyme

Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet (I use olive oil, or you could use a neutral oil like canola or vegetable) with 2 tbsp. butter over medium high heat until shimmering hot. Oil must be very hot, or the crabs will be soggy.
  • In a bowl combine 1 cup flour, 1 tsp of each: Old Bay Seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme- set aside
  • Pat crabs dry and season with salt and pepper
  • Toss in seasoned flour and shake off excess
  • Repeat with remaining crabs
  • Place crabs in oil, shell side down
  • Be careful, the crabs can pop, and spatter so stand back or use a splatter shield
  • Cook turning once, 3 minutes a side
  • Remove crabs from skillet and set aside
  • DO NOT clean out the pan.
  • To the skillet, add 2 tbsp. butter. Let the butter melt and turn a little brown
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute
  • Add capers and white wine and cook for 1- 2 minutes until slightly reduced
  • Add lemon juice and parsley and cook for 2 minutes
  • Pour sauce over crabs

*******************************************************

I hope you try one of these recipes and enjoy Soft Shell Crab Season.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to become members of DishingwithDiane.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments & emails, I LOVE hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Soft Shell Crab Recipes…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s