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Apr 5, 2012 10:40 AM

First Soft Shell Crabs Sighting

Mercato de Mare in the NE has them and Peach Farm is also making them.

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  1. Saw them at Savenor's in Cambridge.

    1. Highland Kitchen has them as a special tonight.

        1. re: Alcachofa

          Yes, warmer than usual water on the East Coast this season has caused the crabs to molt earlier than the past few years.

          1. re: 9lives

            Yes...isn't global warming delicious? MMMMmmmmmmm!

        2. I had one of the best soft shell dishes yet at Coppa yesterday. It was tempura fried on a bed of spicy mixed beans. It sounds like it wouldn't work but it was Coppa so I put my faith in the kitchen and was rewarded with a dish I'll long remember. It was a special.


          1. What's a good way to cook these? I am guessing battered and deep fried but is there a more home kitchen friendly approach?

            10 Replies
            1. re: The Chemist

              pan, butter, shallots, parley, salt, pepper, all you need, and better than deep fried IMHO.

              1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                i like to drown them in buttermilk before dusting and stir frying. I prefer frying in olive oil though butter is fine, too.

                early soft shell crabs are usually from the south and not from maryland fyi.

                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                  I use olive oil when I want to be a little healthier. I find it works fine.

                  Because of the warmer water, SC's ssc season has come and gone. The big producers are on the Chesapeake, and if we're getting them now, I imagine that's where they are from.

                  I've had early SSC in Hilton Head, SC. it's about a 10 day season and the crabs are all sold locally..just not a large enough harvest to ship North.

              2. re: The Chemist

                Dust with flour,,pan fried in butter/garlic. I rarely deep fry at home. Enjoy! If you want to do a litle more, deglaze the pan with a white wine and you have the sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges. I did mine with a Latin twist.....dusted with fine ground chipotle and fresh cilantro garnish.

                1. re: 9lives

                  Thanks to both of you. I know what I am having for dinner.

                2. re: The Chemist

                  THE Virginia tradition: Cut out the eyes, dredge crabs in flour, s and p; saute in butter a few minutes each side. Serve with lots of lemon. The flavor is so delicate; deep frying masks its glory. Other info: the softer their skins, the more recently they molted. The apron (belly area) shell shape>> wide pyramid-like means female; long and skinny means male. Females are fatter in general.

                  p.s.* Stand back when frying because lots of moisture in these guys and that can cause the hot butter to pop at you.

                  1. re: The Chemist

                    I cooked some up this weekend, dirt cheap at whole foods.....I soaked them in buttermilk and some seasoning, then coated them with semolina flour and deep fried them. These guys were small and only took a minute or two to finish, FYI

                    1. re: devilham

                      I was wondering about those...Since they came in already cleaned (dead), how fresh did they taste?

                      1. re: galleygirl

                        We had a few for dinner last night--hard to pass up at $3/each. They were meh--tiny (natch) and unusually...strong(?) tasting. I'd take the live ones from Courthouse/New Deal even at the premium price.

                        1. re: emannths

                          Have to agree with emannths about the strong flavor (and tiny size), but semolina added a nice crunchy coating, and they weren't off or anything, just a strong flavor when you got to the center of the crab (belly area). Two of them over an arugala and radish salad was pretty solid if you ask me.