Thursday, March 13, 2008

SOFT SHELL CRABS


Soft shell crabs, Blue Crab, callinectes sapidus

It seems as though these spring treats have arrived early this year. Some nice big jumbos, and whales are coming from Florida now. I just love soft shells, but if you can wait a few weeks the smaller primes and the decadent hotel sizes will become available. Soft shells are a seasonal spring treat that everyone should try at least once. Nothing is better than biting into a fully dressed soft shell crab sandwich with a tangle of glorious delicious legs protruding from the sides. You can also find some really good frozen soft shells during the off season, that are nearly as good as the fresh ones. Just remember that when you purchase fresh crabs, it is best to purchase live product. Soft shell crabs require a bit of preparation to be pan ready. The front of the shell (were the eyes are) needs to be clipped with sturdy scissors. The apron needs to be removed or cut off. The interior of the crab should be exposed and the lungs removed. All of these tasks can be performed at your local seafood shop as long as you plan on cooking them within 6-8 hours, providing that they are kept refrigerated. A really nice demo is available on cleaning soft shells if you click this link : Expert Village. Beyond cleaning these things are super easy to prepare. A simple dredge in seasoned flour or cornmeal, and a few minutes on each side in hot oil is all you need to do. Bo appetite.