Thursday, May 27, 2010

How To Prep & Cook Soft-Shell Crabs

Soft-shell crabs........'tis the season!
Every year, starting from May til July, the blue crab starts molting its exterior hard shell, leaving the crustacean vulnerable with a shell covering that still looks like a shell but is soft and slightly rubbery to the touch. It is now the end of May and soft-shell crabs have been in season for just a couple of weeks and I've finally found some time to purchase and cook them. These crabs are so juicy and delicious, with sweet and salty flavors. And best of all, there is no fuss whatsoever when you are digging into these crustaceans as you can eat the entire crab whole! Claw, legs, body...everything is edible and if you deep-fry them, they become crunchy like an exotic snack. Can't wait!

So let's get started. I'll take you through the step-by-step procedure of cleaning and prepping the crab for cooking. Anyone who is squeamish about killing an animal for food should stop reading now as it would not be pretty. All you need is a sharp pair of scissors.

Step 1: Turn the crab over on its back and remove the back flap by pulling it out and cutting it off with a pair of scissors.

Step 2: Turn the crab back onto its belly and pull up on the side flap to reveal the gills. Snip off the gills with the scissors. Do the same thing for both sides.

Step 3: Now comes the most squeamish part. We are about to remove the eyes. Again, with your scissors, cut straight across the front part of the shell where the eyes are located.

And you are done. Your soft-shell crab is now prepped and ready for cooking. It is pretty easy once you know how. The easiest method of cooking this delicious crab is to season it with Old Bay Seasoning mixed with all-purpose flour. Coat the crab thoroughly with the flour-Old Bay mix and you are ready to cook. Heat up a pan with about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and pan-fry the crab until golden brown on both sides. Here is what you'll get: delicious soft-shell crabs that are crunchy and full of flavors.

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