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“How to Clean & Cook Soft Shell Crabs”

Soft shell crabs are in season! “Soft shell” is just the term used when regular crabs have recently molted their outer shell. Blue crabs for example, are most common.

Ideally you buy them when they’re still alive and bring them home for a feast.

They are in season May through September, but can be found frozen the rest of the year typically.

Oh, and did I mention they’re delicious? And they’re really not hard to prepare, even though they may seem a bit confusing. Leave the shell on? Say wha? It’s true.

I like to cook them simply too. Here is how you do it.

First, remove all cats from the area, since they will surely think you’ve brought them home for them.

With the kitchen shears, cut the face side of the crab from the body. Just a cut thick enough to remove it without taking too much away.

Turn the crab over so the white side is facing up and pull up the pointed “lever” that reveals a flap and cut off the flap.

Turn the crab over again so the blue shell is facing up, and lift both pointy sides of the shell to reveal the lungs. Remove them.

Rinse the crab, pressing out the green “tamale” from the inside if you desire. Pat them dry and set them on a tray.

In a large skillet, heat the oil. I used olive oil because I was out of frying oil, but you really should try something with a higher smoking point!

Combine the salt and flour in a shallow wide bowl… you can add other seasonings too if you’d like. But I like to keep it simple.

…and coat the crab lightly on both sides.

Drop the crabs in the oil and let it sizzle and cook for 4 minutes on each side, until the shell turns red and crisp and the flour has turned golden brown.

Remove to a plate covered in paper towel and sprinkle with salt.

Serve with lemon wedges! These are great left over and served room temperature as well, and make a delicious sandwich. Enjoy guys!

For your hard shell crab needs, also check out: How to Clean a Crab & Other Crabby Adventures

“How to Clean & Cook Soft Shell Crabs”

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

“How to Clean & Cook Soft Shell Crabs”

Ingredients

  • 12 soft shell crabs
  • Kitchen shears
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil (or other frying oil)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Instructions

  1. With the kitchen shears, cut the face side of the crab from the body.
  2. Turn the crab over so the white side is facing up and pull up the pointed "lever" that reveals a flap and cut off the flap.
  3. Turn the crab over again so the blue shell is facing up, and lift both pointy sides of the shell to reveal the lungs. Remove them.
  4. Rinse the crab, pressing out the green "tamale" from the inside if you desire. Pat them dry and set them on a tray.
  5. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Combine the salt and flour in a shallow wide bowl and coat the crab lightly on both sides.
  6. Drop the crabs in the oil and let it sizzle and cook for 4 minutes on each side, until the shell turns red and crisp and the flour has turned golden brown.
  7. Remove to a plate covered in paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Serve with lemon wedges!
http://georgiapellegrini.com/2012/06/04/recipes/how-to-clean-cook-soft-shell-crabs/

 

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Comments

  1. The first time I had soft shell crab I was at a restaurant with people who’d never had them either. I thought you were supposed to try to pick the meat out. When I went home, my parents quickly corrected me. And I have yet to live it down, despite that being 16 years ago.

  2. You’re making me so homesick. I grew up on the southeastern coast of Virginia, where you grow up knowing how to catch and clean crabs. Cooking, them soft-shell style, however, is another ballgame. Will def be trying this recipe. Thx for sharing.

  3. Just had wonderful sauteed soft shell crabs at a Maryland restaurant–jumbo and juicy. Could only eat one. Brought the second one home. Can I freeze cooked shoft shell crab? If so, any tips?

    • Georgia says:

      I wouldn’t freeze it cause it will probably make it very mushy, they’re better frozen while still raw not already cooked. Just have it in the next few days and you’ll be A-ok! For breakfast perhaps?

  4. Georgia says:

    Oh man, there’s nothing like a soft shell crab sandwich… *swoon*