Soft-Shell Crabs -- Phoenix area?
Thanks to all who are scouting Copper River salmon, a special seasonal treat for desert dwellers, and as a semi-rehabilitated New England guy, the lobster tips are most welcome, too (apparently a very lean year according to the NE and Tri-State boards).
The time is now, and dwindling, for soft-shell crab -- east coast blue crabs, specifically, although I lived in Texas some years back and they have blue crabs, too -- not sure when they shed their shells, though.
Hounds: Where can a hungry boy find soft-shells locally??? Many sushi bars offer them, but based on price and steady availability, they are frozen -- not that there's anything wrong with that, but still ... any suggestions?
In the Gulf of Mexico, the "soft-shell" season usually runs from May through June. It might vary somewhat, but those are the normal dates. Now, that being said, there are soft-shelled crabs, being "raised" in Gila Bend, AZ, or at least there were. Seems that they discovered the secret to blue crabs shedding their hard shells - it is cycles of light/dark. The astronomical seasons do not come into play, only light/dark. The operation in Gila Bend basically places the crabs into a pond with strobe-lights (yeah, kinda' like '80s disco), and molt on cue. I do not know who, in the Valley, might offer these. I have had a few of these in local restaurants, but some years ago. They were pretty good, but preperation is the key, as is freshness. Might want to talk to some of the seafood purveyors and see if they offer these. IIRC, they are offered most of the year. I'd be very interested in having a taste-off between Gulf soft-shells, and these, done the same way, but then I have never had that chance.
I know sometimes you can get them at C-Fu gourmet and from time to time at the Gourmet House of Hong Kong. I don't know how likely it is to get blue crab from the east coast that hasn't been frozen since crab is such a volatile substance. It has to be handled properly from start to finish. I'm from the Carolinas and love nothing more than a soft shell sandwich in the summertime. Alas, I am pregnant and unable to travel this summer =(.
Monday Night Chef's Table at ZuZu...
Monday, June 11: Soft Shell Crabs
Soft Shell Crabs Rolled with Yankee Slaw
cucumber + preserved lemon aioli
Grilled Soft Shell Salad
avocado, grapefruit + cilantro vinaigrette
Crispy Soft Shell Crab
green chili mashed potatoes,
corn + black bean salsa +
golden tomato vinaigrette
Molten Center Chocolate Torte
vanilla ice cream