From May through the month of September is the season of the year noted for soft-shelled crabs. A soft-shelled crab is a crab or crustacean that has shed their hard shell and has not yet begun to grow a new one yet.
The most popular soft-shelled crabs available in the United States are the blue crabs. These delights have a briny taste of the sea since they are sweet and somewhat salty. One difference between these crabs and other species is that the entire crab can be eaten. Of course with all crabs the head, gills and apron need to be removed before they are consumed.
Soft-shelled crabs are typically measured by length and weight and are sold in five different sizes where available. Soft-shelled crabs can be found all year frozen at many markets. Many fish stores, butchers and grocers that sell soft-shelled crabs have them available to you as a ready-to-cook purchase. Always ask to make sure the apron, gills and heads are removed before bringing them home to prepare. It’s a free service so why not take advantage and save yourself a lot of extra preparation work.
Chart for deciding what size and mounts you’ll need to purchase and cook up:
Medium 1 ½ - 2 ounce 3 ¼ - 4 inch
Hotel 2 ½ -3 ounce 4 -4 ½ inch
Prime 3 – 3 ½ ounce 4 ½ - 5 inch
Jumbo 4 ½ - 5 ounce 5 – 5 ½ inch
Whale 5 ½ -6 ounce over 5 ½ inches
- Soft-shelled crabs
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the crabs.
- Heat the pan on a medium-high heat until hot.
- Add the oil and heat until hot.
- Then add in the seasoned crabs and cook for 6 minutes until the tops turn a dark red and the bottom is browned turning once.
- Remove from pan and set on serving platter.
- Don’t over season or overcook and your crabs will always turn out perfect.
- Remove crab meat and mix into a garlic butter sauce and serve it over pasta.
Take pleasure in eating the sweet meat of a soft-shelled crab!
© 2014 Beverly Mucha / All Rights Reserved