Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Apr 27, 2010 07:03 PM

Preparing soft shell crabs....

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?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You eat the whole thing, eyes and all.

    13 Replies
    1. re: monku

      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

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

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          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

            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


            1. re: TSQ75

              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

          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

            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

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

              1. re: monku

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

                1. re: monku

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

              2. re: TSQ75

                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

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

                  1. re: Uncle Bob

                    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. 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. 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.