How to cook soft shell crabs

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soft shell crab
Enjoy this treat on a sandwich, in sushi or however sounds tasty
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No need to be crabby; learning how to cook soft shell crabs is easy

One of the surest signs of summerís arrival is the presence of soft-shell crabs on menus and in the seafood store. This delicacy is perhaps the tastiest way to enjoy a crab. Not only do you get the rich, delicious flavor of the crab meat, but you also get eat it covered in a crispy, fried batter Ė you canít get much better than that.

Sure, you can go to a restaurant and order the treat, but you can also make it yourself. And when you know how to cook soft shell crabs, you have the culinary means of making you, your family and your friends extremely happy and satisfied. 

Getting Started

You canít possibly cook a delicious soft shell crab unless you begin with excellent ingredients. So make sure you cook with premium soft shell crabs.

How do you choose the right crab?

First, look at how it is packaged. Frozen crab should be cleaned and individually wrapped. It should be fresh-frozen, and free of "freezer burn."

If you are buying fresh soft-shell crab, a simple test is that it should smell good. If you detect a fishy or otherwise unpleasant scent, choose another crab. Additionally, the shell should be very soft and the crab should have all of its legs.

Cleaning the Crab

Before you eat the crab, you need to clean it to ensure you donít eat any of its inedible insides. To do this, pick the dead crab up in your hand, then use a pair of kitchen shears to cut off its front -- go back about Ĺ-inch behind the eyes and mouth. Then use your fingers to squeeze the sac behind your incision to remove some of the not-so-tasty crab parts.

Now lift up one of the pointed ends of the crab and remove the gills you find under the shell. Lift up the other side and repeat the process. Once youíre done, flip the crab over and cut off the little flap in the back. Scrub the outside of the crab and youíre ready to start cooking.

Frozen soft shell crab should come pre-cleaned so that they are ready to thaw and cook.

Get Cooking

The key to cooking soft shell crabs is creating that tasty, crispy outside. To get this, place ľ cup of flour inside a bowl. Sprinkle the crab with salt and pepper, then dredge the crab in the flour Ė be sure to  shake of any excess. Melt about 1 tbsp. of butter in a high-quality fry pan, then place the crab in the pan. Fry the crab until it is golden brown on one side, then flip it over. Continue to allow the crab to cook until it is brown on both sides.


Now that your crab is cooked, youíll need to figure out how to eat it. Of course you can just dive right in and enjoy it as is, but one of the most popular ways in which to enjoy soft shell crab is eat it in a sandwich. Plain white bread, mayonnaise and tomatoes are tasty sandwich components, but try whatever you like. This makes a soft-shell crab po' boy, a New Orleans-style treat. Soft shell crabs are delicious just about any way.

Now that you know how to cook a soft shell crab, you can treat others Ė and yourself -- to a delectable summer treat.


Cooking Light: Sensational Soft-Shell Crabs

Serious Eats: A Beginnerís Guide to Soft Shell Crabs

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