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Where can I buy FRESH soft shells?

dmatous May 28, 2013 05:28 PM

and also fresh bluefish (whole)?

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  1. t
    Teddybear RE: dmatous May 28, 2013 05:49 PM

    Maine Avenue if you're in DC

    2 Replies
    1. re: Teddybear
      dmatous RE: Teddybear May 28, 2013 06:09 PM

      Thx but unfortunately too far from DC in Baltimore county

      1. re: dmatous
        agarnett100 RE: dmatous May 28, 2013 06:39 PM

        Try Franks in Jessup

    2. foster RE: dmatous May 28, 2013 05:53 PM

      Conrad's Crabs had soft shells this weekend, don't remember bluefish, but could have missed it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: foster
        dmatous RE: foster May 28, 2013 06:10 PM

        Oh gosh... Will have to see if they have them tomorrow! Thx for the lead!

      2. agarnett100 RE: dmatous May 28, 2013 06:38 PM

        Maine St Wharf - Captaim Whites Stall they have soft shells for $4 per if you ask they will clean them. If you go Mon-Thursday make sure they get the fish from the back for freshness

        1. fldhkybnva RE: dmatous May 29, 2013 06:05 PM

          Whole Foods gets them in a few days a week.

          1. ineemeeny RE: dmatous May 29, 2013 07:55 PM

            A little closer than DC, but still not close - in MoCo, the fish truck at the Kensington Farmers Market (Saturdays 8-12) has it.

            1. b
              bmorecupcake RE: dmatous May 30, 2013 06:46 AM

              Last year I bought soft shells from the Sunday JFX market. The vendor should be showing up any week now. (I wasn't there last week, so maybe he's already there.)

              5 Replies
              1. re: bmorecupcake
                gregb RE: bmorecupcake May 31, 2013 06:37 AM

                He was there last week selling decent sized soft shells, 2 for $9.

                1. re: gregb
                  bmorecupcake RE: gregb Jun 2, 2013 05:30 PM

                  The soft shells at JFX were $5 and $6 today, depending on size. He said the season was especially bad this year -- worst in recent memory -- hence the high prices. I'm glad I experimented last year: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/847695

                  1. re: bmorecupcake
                    Hue RE: bmorecupcake Jun 2, 2013 05:52 PM

                    So how did you make out last year??

                    1. re: Hue
                      bmorecupcake RE: Hue Jun 2, 2013 09:58 PM

                      Where to start? First, thanks a lot for your help last year.

                      I can get very good results with smaller soft shells: crispy exterior, cooked through but not overcooked. The larger ones I still can't get quite right. In the latter case, I must sacrifice one of the three: crispy exterior, cooked through, or not overcooked.

                      I was a little thrown off when you wrote to saute 5 to 7 minutes per side, depending on size. Even for a large soft shell, the heat setting require to crisp up the shell would easily overcook the crab in 14 minutes, with or without a loosely covered pan. Then I thought maybe you define "saute" and "fry" to mean lower and higher heat settings, respectively. At a lower heat setting, 14 minutes wouldn't overcook the crab, but the shells never crisped up and loosely covering the pan would turn the flour dredge soggy. Then I figured you probably just winged the time estimates, so I increased the heat back up and reduced the times.

                      With a smaller soft shell, I cook uncovered and by the time the shell has crisped up, the interior is cooked through and I'm good to go. I first experimented only with smaller soft shells and my issues then were that my heat wasn't high enough, as a result I was overcooking the crab while waiting for the shell to crisp, and I wasn't using enough fat so the flour dredge in some nooks and crannies would still be rawish.

                      I'm still undecided on if the soft shell goes in bottom first or top first. Bottom first, I get more crispness because the bottom is flatter (more contact with pan), but the flour on the top starts to steam and clump a little even if the pan is uncovered. Top first, some flour will fall off into the fat, I will have less surface making good contact with the pan, and I will sacrifice some crispness on the bottom due to steamed/clumpy flour, but I feel crispness is more important on the top than the bottom. I don't believe I'm over-dredging. I'll go no dredge every once in a while.

                      With a larger soft shell, if I cook uncovered, the shell crisps before the inside is cooked through. I'm okay with that, but I'm not comfortable serving "raw" soft shells to others. So what I do is crisp one side loosely covered, then flip and crisp the other side uncovered. The shell isn't as crisp as I would like and the flour coating can be soggy in places, but nothing a veteran can't handle.

                      1. re: bmorecupcake
                        KWagle RE: bmorecupcake Jun 5, 2013 11:55 PM

                        Interesting. I wonder if this is a place for first cooking at high temps, then finishing at lower (or vice versa, I've never tried to cook softshells.)

              2. d
                dmatous RE: dmatous May 31, 2013 06:54 AM

                Thanks for all your comments! I found fresh soft shells at Conrads Crabs - 4 different sizes-the largest, whales, were $8 each.

                5 Replies
                1. re: dmatous
                  Hue RE: dmatous May 31, 2013 08:12 AM

                  So when's lunch or dinner??

                  1. re: Hue
                    dmatous RE: Hue May 31, 2013 08:27 AM


                  2. re: dmatous
                    jck RE: dmatous May 31, 2013 09:42 AM

                    The sound you are hearing is me gasping at $8/softshell .... yikes!!! Any the thing I realize is that Conrad's is not really an overly expensive outlet iMHO.

                    1. re: jck
                      dmatous RE: jck May 31, 2013 09:51 AM

                      Keep in mind whales were the largest so hence the lofty price tag - they had 3 other smaller sizes with asscoiated lower prices depending on the size.

                      1. re: dmatous
                        Teddybear RE: dmatous May 31, 2013 10:01 AM

                        An awful lot of work goes into producing soft shells for sale -- I'm surprised they're not more expensive.

                  3. fldhkybnva RE: dmatous May 31, 2013 01:57 PM

                    I just picked up a couple soft shelled crabs at Whole Foods this afternoon. They get them in twice a week usually Tuesday and Friday for anyone who is interested. I am new to soft shells, how long is the season usually?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: fldhkybnva
                      Teddybear RE: fldhkybnva May 31, 2013 02:20 PM

                      crab shed periodically

                      1. re: Teddybear
                        fldhkybnva RE: Teddybear May 31, 2013 02:32 PM

                        Right, I wasn't sure if it's a once a few months occurrence or more often.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva
                          Dennis S RE: fldhkybnva Jun 6, 2013 05:20 AM

                          They are farmed, also, which I think was intended in Teddybear's earlier remark upthread.

                          The farming I've seen is done indoors so they control lighting and temps, etc., to mirror natural cycles.

                    2. v
                      Vidute RE: dmatous May 31, 2013 09:20 PM

                      went to the food truck gathering at mchenry row, tonight. charm city gourmet had a delicious soft crab sandwich. and it couldn't have been fresher- it was still alive until the sandwich was ordered. the crab was of good size, it covered the entire roll. $12

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