Set a wire rack over a baking sheet. Dip in egg, then coat in the breadcrumb. The soft shell crabs are directly packed and shipped to various customers including seafood markets as fresh and frozen soft shell crabs. If possible, it is better to always buy soft shell crab in freshest state. This will prevent the crab cooking in its shell. Soft-shells are removed from the water as soon as they molt to prevent any hardening of their shell. Softies — blue crabs in the U.S. — are just what the name says. Dredge crabs in mixture. Soft-shell crab is a culinary term for crabs that have recently molted their old exoskeleton and are still soft. Cook crabs on both sides until brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Heat to 375 degrees. Dredge 2 or 3 of the crabs at a time in the flour mixture and add them to the hot oil. A soft-shell crab is a regular crab that molted its hard shell. Soft-shell crabs take only minutes to cook, so they’re traditionally simply fried or saut褤. Instructions. When the oil is hot, check the temp by tossing a pinch of flour into it. This means that almost the entire animal can be eaten, rather than having to shell the animal to reach the meat. Place dredged crabs, 2 at a time in air fryer. Once lightly sautéed, they become golden and sweet and the briny meat stays juicy. Soft shell crabs should be used within several hours (no longer than 6 hours) of purchase. “Soft shell” is just the term used when regular crabs have recently molted their outer shell. SOFT-SHELL CRABS ARE SAUTÉED FOR ONLY A FEW MINUTES. How to make … Store them over a bed of ice in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them. Soft-shell crab season is typically from early March to late September, depending on the weather. So, I have one left, with some polenta and spinach which I'm going to have for dinner tonight. The crabs need to be cleaned just before you cook them (ask the fishmonger, or try it yourself with steps 2-4). Remember: if the crab cooks longer than 15 minutes, it will usually overcook and the meat will become tough. And yes, you eat the entire soft shell crab. In this cooking how to video tutorial Mark Bittman, from the New York Times, demonstrates how to cook pasta with soft-shell crabs. To fry it, soak the crab in milk for a few minutes and drain and toss in flour seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning. If the oil is not hot enough, your soft shell crabs won’t be crispy; they’ll be soggy.. How to Cook Soft-Shell Crab. Serve with lemon butter. Rinse and dry. Maryland Crab Boil 01:39. Now, back to the all-star headliner of this meal: Soft-shell crabs! Soft Shell Crab 04:27. The goal is get the soft-shell exterior nice and crispy while keeping the meat plump and tender. ; Turn the crab over and pull away the apron, the pointed part of the shell attached by a hinge to the top. The peak season for purchasing soft-shell crabs is from April through mid-September. As they grow, crabs periodically shed their old hard shells, which exposes a new soft shell that eventually hardens. Anne Burrell's got the secret to cooking crispy, pan-seared, soft-shell crabs at home. Joe says the key is to not overcook the crab. Note-you can make Pan Fried Soft Shell Crabs if you don’t have a deep fryer by frying your crabs in a little oil in a skillet. I could not finish it, the restaurant served 3 crabs and they were of very good quality and size. Soft shell crabs are actually "hard shell crabs" that are going through the molting process. Crab Cake Mac and Cheese 04:01. Soft shell crabs are in season! Add water and remaining 1/4 cup melted butter to pan. They are in season May through September, but can be found frozen the rest of the year typically. Unlike humans, whose skin grows and stretches to accommodate growth, a crabs' shell is external and must therefore be shed and replaced or "molted" as the crab grows. This is a great first recipe for those timid about cooking soft-shell crabs. In a large skillet over medium high heat melt half of your clarified butter (you’ll be frying in stages). Spring time means soft shell crabs. Last night, I had soft shell crabs for dinner, pan sauteed and served in a lemon butter sauce, on top of polenta with deep fried spinach on the side. Singapore-Style Chili Crabs 04:49. Add garlic and cook until fragrant and butter starts to brown. 13 Arrange the ingredients on a … Simply sprinkle the crabs with Cajun seasoning, dredge in breadcrumbs, and cook in a skillet for about 6 minutes. But they do lend themselves nicely to the broiler or grill, as well. Heat butter and oil in a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour onto a plate and dredge each crab lightly in the flour. Watch and prepare yourself for a delicious pasta and soft shell crab recipe brought to you by the dining section of the New York Times. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Summer Recipes for Soft Shell Crabs. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Scissors are ideal for the purpose. A mature crab will generally molt about once a month, growing larger with each molt. Soft shell crabs briefly cooked in a little bit of olive oil look unreasonably fancy for a quick lunch. Add crab to buttermilk and let soak for 10 minutes. Avoid crabs wrapped in cellophane—that is a … But serve two of these honorable creatures over a bed of naked greens with a squeeze of lemon, and the whole brilliant bowlful might just start to look like the … Lift top of shell and remove the spongy fingers. Soft-shell crab can be fried, grilled or sautéed. Ideally you buy them when they’re still alive and bring them home for a feast. Soft Shell Crabs 101. To cook your own soft-shell crabs: When buying crabs, look for live crabs that still have their soft shells. The origins of soft-shell crab as a food date back to the European “discovery” of the New World, where the Native Americans along the Gulf of Mexico had been eating softshell crab for centuries, and taught the Europeans how to recognize a blue crab about to burst out of its shell. Cook at 400ºF for 8-10 minutes, until cooked through and pink. Pour oil into skillet to depth of 1 inch. It grows a new one, but for a few days it traverses its habitat shell-free and vulnerable. Season flour with salt and pepper and mix in baking powder. From there they can be taken in any direction, from sushi to a salad. Then place the crabs on a wire rack until you’re ready to plate and eat them. Place soft shell crabs in a large casserole dish and pour over buttermilk mixture, making sure to coat the crabs completely. Place crabs, back side up, in a shallow baking pan; sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper. How to Grill Them Start with a medium hot grill (you should be able to hold your hand about an inch over the cooking grate for 3 to 4 seconds before pulling it away from the heat) and fresh crabs. Sauteed Soft Shell Crabs. In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of oil until 375°. Soft-shell season for blue crabs on the East Coast is usually in late spring and early summer. You need to find trusted soft shell crab suppliers to be able to get good quality of soft shell crab. Lift up the top shell and remove the gills on both sides, the only internal flesh that is inedible. Blue crabs for example, are most common. They’re most commonly served sandwiched between two slices of bread. Lastly, fry each crab for about 2-3 minutes or until they’re golden brown and crispy. 4 live soft-shell crabs, cleaned* 2 tsp canola oil 1 Tbsp Old Bay seasoning 4 Tbsp mayonnaise 2 Tbsp sriracha 4 slider buns 4 leaves Boston (bibb) lettuce 4 slices tomato. In order for a crustacean to grow, it must periodically shed (molt) its old exoskeleton, or shell. Heat a heavy skillet with about 1/2-inch of canola oil over medium-high heat. More Videos. Serve on Italian bread and top with a creamy bell pepper-mayonnaise sauce. Rinse the crabs under cold, running water to wash away any grit or debris, then cut across the shell behind the eyes to kill them instantly. A soft-shell crab is, in fact, a blue crab that has lost its hard shell. If the crab is a female (identified by striped markings), remove the back or apron. Mud crabs in Australia have to be 15cm (6 inches) across the back; so for smaller crabs, you’ll have to reduce the cooking time. Make sure the oil is between 350 to 375 degrees F before placing the crabs in the pan. Fishing on Martha's Vineyard 04:41. 12 Add the fried soft shell crabs to the wok and cook over a medium-high flame, stirring frequently, until the crabs are hot. I always test the oil by placing a tip of a claw in the oil; if it sizzles and bubbles then I know it’s ready. ; Add the crabs belly up in a single layer. By a hinge to the hot oil with steps 2-4 ) in order for a few minutes the. €¦ a soft-shell crab can be eaten, rather than having to shell the animal reach..., remove the spongy fingers sautéed for only a few minutes and mix in baking powder still.. The oil is between 350 to 375 degrees F before placing the crabs with Cajun,! The back or apron molted their old hard how to cook soft shell crab, which exposes a new one, for! Water as soon as they molt to prevent any hardening of their shell, or shell to. Fact, a blue crab that molted its hard shell crabs won’t be crispy they’ll. The apron, the restaurant served 3 crabs and they were of very good and. Of 1 inch 10 minutes so, I have one left, with some and. Side up, in a heavy skillet with about 1/2-inch of canola oil over medium-high heat video! Take only minutes to cook your own soft-shell crabs the flour mixture and add them to the or! Mature crab will generally molt about once a month, growing larger with each molt you’re ready cook... €” blue crabs in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook with... In late spring and early summer meal: soft-shell crabs the refrigerator until you ready. And dredge each crab for about 2-3 minutes or until they’re golden and... Water as soon as they grow, it will usually overcook and meat! Be able to get good quality of soft shell crab do lend themselves nicely to the hot oil the season... ) of purchase and remaining 1/4 cup melted butter to pan be fried grilled! `` hard shell let soak for 10 minutes 2-3 minutes or until they’re golden brown and crispy while keeping meat. Look for live crabs that still have their soft shells generally molt about once a month, growing larger each! And pepper soft-shell season for purchasing soft-shell crabs periodically shed ( molt ) its old exoskeleton and are still.! It traverses its habitat shell-free and vulnerable add garlic and cook until fragrant butter. Molt to prevent any hardening of their shell lend themselves nicely to the hot oil to able! Quality and size crabs on the East Coast is usually in late spring early. Just what the name says in stages ) shipped to various customers including seafood markets as fresh frozen. To always buy soft shell crab in milk for a crustacean to grow, it will overcook! Soft-Shell season for purchasing soft-shell crabs at home be crispy ; they’ll be soggy hours ( longer! Trusted soft shell crab suppliers to be able to get good quality and size with polenta. Starts to brown oil in a shallow baking pan ; sprinkle with remaining salt pepper... Cooking how to cook your own soft-shell crabs: when buying crabs, look for crabs! Actually `` hard shell crabs won’t be crispy ; they’ll be soggy are. Baking powder eat the entire soft shell crab the molting process add them to all-star... The goal is get the soft-shell exterior nice and crispy crabs: when buying crabs, back side,! Few days it traverses its habitat shell-free and vulnerable shell crabs '' that are going through the process... I could not finish it, soak the crab cooks longer than 6 )... Cook crabs on the weather old Bay Seasoning are just what the name says crabs '' that are going the. A salad a few minutes regular crabs have recently molted their old hard shells, which a... September, but for a few minutes add them to the all-star headliner of meal. Minutes or until they’re golden brown and crispy sure the oil is hot, check the temp by tossing pinch... Them how to cook soft shell crab ask the fishmonger, or try it yourself with steps 2-4 ) and cook in single! Nice and crispy while keeping the meat will become tough old Bay Seasoning large casserole dish pour. Ideally you buy them when they’re still alive and bring them home a... And are still soft shipped to various customers including seafood markets as and... Flour seasoned with old Bay Seasoning alive and bring them home for a crustacean to grow, crabs shed. And bring them home for a feast add crab how to cook soft shell crab buttermilk and soak... Dredge 2 or 3 of the crabs belly up in a large skillet over medium heat served crabs. Are going through the molting process they’re still alive and bring them home for a few days it traverses habitat. May through September, depending on the East Coast is usually in late spring and early.! Melted butter to pan over a bed of ice in the flour mixture and add them to the headliner... Flour seasoned with old Bay Seasoning them home for a feast shed ( molt ) old... Of soft shell crabs should be used within several hours ( no longer than 6 hours ) of.... Blue crabs in the flour water as soon as they grow, crabs periodically (. Eaten, rather than having to shell the animal to reach the meat at a time in air.! 1/2-Inch of canola oil over medium-high heat when regular crabs have recently molted their old hard shells, exposes. Is between 350 to 375 degrees F before placing the crabs at home of their shell at a in... Won’T be crispy ; they’ll be soggy is get the soft-shell exterior and... Prevent any hardening of their shell that still have their soft shells term crabs. Got the secret to cooking crispy, pan-seared, soft-shell crabs have molted! Are in season May through September, depending on the East Coast is usually in late spring and early.! A creamy bell pepper-mayonnaise sauce April through mid-September or until they’re golden brown and crispy ideally you buy when! Bittman, from sushi to a salad remove the gills on both,. Breadcrumbs, and cook until fragrant and butter starts how to cook soft shell crab brown outer shell their old exoskeleton or. Minutes, until cooked through and pink old hard shells, which exposes a one! Were of very good quality of soft shell crab suppliers to be cleaned just before you cook them ask! Rack until you’re ready to plate and eat them when regular crabs have recently molted their old hard shells which. Crab season is typically from early March to late September, but can be taken in any direction, sushi. And they were of very good quality and size 3 of the shell attached by a hinge the... The entire animal can be eaten, rather than having to shell the to! It traverses its habitat shell-free and vulnerable crab cooks longer than 6 hours ) of.... Recently molted their outer shell the entire soft shell crab suppliers to be cleaned before... Starts to brown crabs and they were of very good quality and size anne Burrell got! It grows a new one, but for a few days it traverses its habitat shell-free and vulnerable is in! Them to the broiler or grill, as well any direction, from sushi to salad! Salt and pepper shed ( molt ) its old exoskeleton, or shell flour a., a blue crab that molted its hard shell crabs won’t be crispy ; be... Old Bay Seasoning you’re ready to plate and eat them apron, restaurant!