I'm looking to find some decent soft-shell crabs in
Manhattan, but I don't want to pay the $25 they were
charging at City Crab (yes, I know it's a hideous,
T.G.I.F.-esque abomination, but I was desparate). Help.
re: Pat Hammond
Please let me know how to cook my number one all time favorite thing in the world. I had my first of 1988 at March last weekend and they were exquisitely fresh and alas, disappeared way too quickly (what doesn't at that place?)
Also, any tips on how to have the crabs withstand a trip from Citarella to Margaretville, so that they still taste almost as fresh as when they were plucked from their beds...
re: E. Cornell
First of all the crabs have to be alive when you buy them. If you have the fish store clean them, the chances of their deterioration is much higher if you're going to be transporting them without refrigeration. Any fish store will pack you fish in ice for you, so that will take care of getting them home.
As far as cooking is concerned, one of the best I've ever eaten were at the NY Noodle House in Chinatown. They cook them in a salt shell so that when you get them, they're crispy, JUICY and very tender. They should be sweet now--this is prime season.
If you want to cook them yourself, I'd suggest having them cleaned, dusting them in seasoned (salt and pepper) flour and then a dip into a Tempura batter. The prepared mixes are wonderful and can be obtained in almost any Oriental market. Heat the oil to about 375 degrees. Mix the tempura batter, dip the whole soft shell crab into the batter, let it drip off and slip the craf, legs first, into the hot oil. When the crab looks lightly golden brown, turn it over and cook to golden brown on the other side. Remove, drain well and eat!!
re: E. Cornell
I'll certainly defer to Susan for deep fried soft
shells. It sounds devine.
My favorite way to cook and eat them is more of a
saute. Dust the cleaned crabs with a well seasoned
flour mix (I like cayenne in mine). Let rest in the
fridge for a half hour or so. Heat a saute pan and
then add half butter, half Canola oil or
whichever mild oil you like, place crabs shell side
down in hot oiled pan and saute on that side until
golden and then turn crabs over and cook their
underside. They'll be crispy but crabby. Serve with
chopped parsley on top, lemon to squeeze over and
tartar sauce, if you like it.
They should keep just fine on your way home if they
have ice in the bag. Be sure your fish monger puts the
crabs in one plastic bag and the ice in another.
re: Pat Hammond
I know how to cook them, but I'm being taken out by a
visiting relative and was trying to figure out how to,
um, take full advantage of the situation and get some
decent soft-shells outside of my kitchen. Recent
austerity measures have limited my dining out
options,so I thought I'd make the best of the visit.
It's not precisely what you have in mind, but
An American Place had just spectacular soft-
shells this week, simply fried, garnished with
a few Carolina rock shrimp. Plus, you get an
excuse to eat their strawberry shortcake, which
is the best anywhere. (It's a still a little
early in the season--most places are serving
teensy softshell crabs right about now.)
Michael's makes a point of having
great soft-shells too, as well as all-but
-unfindable shad roe.
What is the point of visiting relatives, after
all, if not to exercise their American Express
cards a little on your behalf? Hell, I bet Le
Bernadin has good soft-shelled crabs too . . .
re: jonathan gold
Two suggestions re: soft shell crabs: 1) New York
Noodletown, on the Bowery just south of Canal and
2) Elias' Corner in Astoria, Queens. Both places serve
delicious, though differently prepared, and inexpensive
soft shell crabs. Also, check Savoy in Soho for more
expensive and more delicious crabs.