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Preparing soft shell crabs....

TSQ75 Apr 27, 2010 07:03 PM

Ok, recipes abound for how to fi these buggers...but everyone seems to be going from already cleaned and prepared soft shell crabs...

well, thanks to my CSF, i'll be blessed with some LIVE soft shell crabs later this week. how do i "Take care" of them?! one thing has me literally snipping off their faces with scissors...can i just pith them? what additional cleaning is needed?

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  1. monku RE: TSQ75 Apr 27, 2010 07:26 PM

    You eat the whole thing, eyes and all.

    13 Replies
    1. re: monku
      bushwickgirl RE: monku Apr 27, 2010 10:53 PM

      No, no eyes or mouth, snip them off. The lungs and apron should be removed as well. Start with the lungs and apron, then remove the face. It's pretty simple.

      Here's a Chow vid, graphic but if you're going to eat them, best watch. I can't clean or eat them anymore, as I had one go into fibrillation in my hand one time while I was cleaning it; it was very distressing and it put me off eating them forever. You can have mine:


      1. re: bushwickgirl
        TSQ75 RE: bushwickgirl Apr 28, 2010 04:16 AM

        Bushwickgirl: thanks, i guess its time to balls up and do it...lol

        1. re: bushwickgirl
          thew RE: bushwickgirl Apr 28, 2010 05:51 AM

          i'd do the face first - that way it's dead right away, and no fibrillation worries as you do the rest

          1. re: thew
            TSQ75 RE: thew Apr 28, 2010 06:56 AM

            ugh...this may suck. lol I have no problem throwing them into boiling water somehow, even as they thrash against the side of the pot. somehow the thought of cutting off their faces with a pair of shears just wigs me the f*&ck out...lol


            1. re: TSQ75
              fourunder RE: TSQ75 Apr 28, 2010 09:04 AM

              I have no problem throwing them into boiling water somehow, even as they thrash against the side of the pot.
              What a waste of good crab:)

        2. re: monku
          TSQ75 RE: monku Apr 28, 2010 04:16 AM

          Monku: obviously i know it all gets eaten. but it needs to be prepared somehow before i cook it. i'm not dredging a live crab in eggs and flour and popping it into a skillet

          1. re: TSQ75
            monku RE: TSQ75 Apr 28, 2010 04:43 AM

            You could stick it with a knife between the eyes to kill it then dredge flour and dunk in the skillet. I'm not Fortunate to get them live.

            1. re: monku
              monku RE: monku Apr 28, 2010 05:00 AM

              I imagine at a restaurant they'd just dredge and fry them live.

              1. re: monku
                thew RE: monku Apr 28, 2010 05:51 AM

                no. the face apron and lungs are almost always cut off 1st

                1. re: monku
                  bushwickgirl RE: monku Apr 28, 2010 04:26 PM

                  No, they're cleaned first, usually the dishwasher gets the job...

              2. re: TSQ75
                hazelhurst RE: TSQ75 Apr 28, 2010 09:16 AM

                funly enough, many a soft shell crab lovr agrees with you, but probably not for teh reason you might think. To dredge them in flour and deep fry them is considered heresy, anathema, a Crime Against Decency.

                1. re: hazelhurst
                  Uncle Bob RE: hazelhurst Apr 28, 2010 04:51 PM

                  Guess I'm a criminal....Love a fried soft shell poboy! ~~ With a cold beer...Oh my!!!

                  1. re: Uncle Bob
                    hazelhurst RE: Uncle Bob Apr 29, 2010 06:36 AM

                    Well, you are certainly not alone. And I am on record as saying that I have had decent fried soft crabs but sauteed is really the way to show them to best advantage. Or you could do the old trick of spearing them, pinning some bacon to the critteer, and them cooking on a grill. Folks don't have the stomach for that nowadays.

            2. c
              cb1 RE: TSQ75 Apr 28, 2010 08:58 AM

              The Chow Tips video is the way to do it. Not sure how to link it.

              You can handle it. Just do it. Having them rest on some ice for a bit before preparing them helps too.

              I'm sorry, I just realized that was the link bushwickgirl put up! I'm slow today. I'll have to eat a few softshells to make up for my mistake. :)

              1. rabaja RE: TSQ75 Apr 28, 2010 09:42 AM

                If you can man-up and kill the little beasties (agree with bushwickgirl's instruction) they are delicious grilled. Toss the cleaned bodies with lots of chopped herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper and pounded garlic, maybe some chiles too and let them sit for 30 min or so.
                Grill them hot and fast, they are a treat every summer.
                No frying required.

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