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Soft Shell Crabs - in March?

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Marie07960 Mar 31, 2012 02:26 PM

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. briansnat Apr 1, 2012 04:05 AM

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: briansnat
      MGZ Apr 1, 2012 04:50 AM

      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.

      1. re: MGZ
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        Spaetzle75 Apr 1, 2012 05:11 AM

        Maybe from Florida?

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      rcript Apr 1, 2012 10:31 AM

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

      1. ambrose Apr 1, 2012 10:40 AM

        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
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          sasiegel Apr 1, 2012 03:19 PM

          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
            ambrose Apr 1, 2012 04:05 PM

            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
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              sasiegel Apr 1, 2012 04:15 PM

              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
                bgut1 Apr 1, 2012 06:17 PM

                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
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                  Marie07960 Apr 1, 2012 08:19 PM

                  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. MGZ Apr 2, 2012 03:57 AM

          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
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            Epicurium Apr 3, 2012 09:20 AM

            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!

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              Picnicchef Apr 4, 2012 06:34 AM

              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
                angelo04 Apr 7, 2012 03:35 PM

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

                1. re: angelo04
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                  Picnicchef Apr 8, 2012 08:03 PM

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

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