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Mar 31, 2012 02:26 PM

Soft Shell Crabs - in March?

My husband was in the mood for some good octopus last week, so we made a trip to Taximi (Greek) Restaurant in Caldwell. Among the special was soft shell crabs. I thought they don't come into season until late April/early May. Is our particularly mild winter and spring pushing them to shed their hard shells early? They are a favorite of mine, so I had them as an entree - pan sauteed with and covered in garlicky greens. Excellent!

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  1. Likely frozen. Crabs are barely becoming active now. I doubt commercial crabbers have even started.

    2 Replies
    1. re: briansnat

      I agree that the crabs were more than likely frozen for some time. It's too early even for Gulf state crabs, but that's the only place I'd even think it possible for a first molt to have occurred. Our winter may have been mild, but the water is still quite cold.

    2. They are available and alive, just very expensive right now.

      1. The Milford Oyster House served up six dozen soft shells last weekend and ordered another four dozen for this weekend. I have no idea of their history except that they were described as the "first of the season".

        5 Replies
        1. re: ambrose

          Had the best soft shell crabs I've ever eaten at Origins in Somerbille on Friday night. They were fried and prepared with Thai basil, chili, red peppers, and fennel.

          1. re: sasiegel

            Thanks, sasiegel. I had completely forgotten that Origin Thai did soft shells. I'm going to try to get down there in the next couple of days.

            1. re: ambrose

              Call first to check. They were a nightly special on Friday (though I suppose that you couod find somethibg else on the menu that would be equally great - I have never been disappointed by any of my meals at Origins....)

              1. re: sasiegel

                Drew's Bayshore Bistro in Keyport had them this weekend. I believe they came from Georgia. Contrary to the above post they were fresh and not frozen.

                1. re: bgut1

                  It's good to hear that they were probably fresh. Most every fish that is offered at Taximi is a special. I always felt that they offered what was currently in season. The soft-shell crabs were mighty good - didn't seem to be frozen.

        2. This thread had me curious. It seems the first molt was early in the Southeast this year. Softshells in the early part of March in South Carolina. It would seem that we might be seeing them in our waters in a month or so. Maybe even sooner in the Chesapeake.

          4 Replies
          1. re: MGZ

            yes they are in season my son brought 6 home for me last week from the purveyor they use at the restaurant where he works they were the fresh and tender after he marinated them in buttermilk overnight and i breaded them and sauteed them right on our own stove the season has officially begun!

            1. re: Epicurium

              They have been in for the last three weeks. Early by about three weeks. But then again, so is my garden! Foraged Morel mushrooms yesterday if that says anything about the season.

              1. re: Picnicchef

                Mushrooms really? Never thought to add this to my Jersey garden. Any tips? Sorry to go off topic from the op

                1. re: angelo04

                  no, foraged. I only wish I could grow them. You have to find them!