May has always been a good time for soft shell crabs…ah, the sign that warm temperatures are here. This late spring/early summer classic dish is a favorite of all of our line chefs as well as patrons alike. How good? Basically its unbutton-your-pants-and-eat-two-or-three-of-them-good.
Now we know what you’re thinking–weird, soft, crabs. What you *should* be thinking is Mmmmmmmm.
It’s easy. Go to a reputable fish monger-There you will find them fresh (usually on display in the display case). Never frozen, soft shell crabs should smell clean, and their shells soft to the touch. If it looks weird or smells weird, get out of there.
Rule of thumb: Must be alive when you buy them. Duh.
Crabs soften their hard shell outside to help them grow bigger…eggsalent. When the outsides of the shell are soft/mottled, they are harvested. Simple.
Here in Cleveland, we obviously don’t have crabberies (OK-I made that word up), so I usually opt for fresh flown in Maryland Blue Crabs. Having extensive overview of Maryland (Thanks MSP), I believe they have a great blue crabs.
You too can make our Soft Shell Crab PoBoy with Crispy Cole Slaw. Easy….like weeknight easy.
So once you get your soft shell blue crabs, rinse them in cold tap water. Our opinion: no need to remove eyes, fins, etc…they are ugly…errr beautiful. People want to see them.
Pat dry with towel.
Heat veggie oil in cast iron skillet to medium high.
Dip lightly into a egg mixture.
Dredge with flour mixed with garlic salt (I use a very very coarse garlic salt from Chicago).
Fry crab in oil…about 4-5 minutes per side pending on size of crab, heat, and pan size.
Remove and place on drying rack x 2 minutes. They should appear golden-brown-and delicious (GBD).
Prepare your sandwich bread (we prefer with sub style), spread generous layer of mayo on top and bottom.
Fresh cracked pepper on mayo (Thanks Alton).
Place GBD soft shell crab.
Generous clump of fresh crispy cole slaw on crab.
Consider serving with: Lemon wedges (don’t think you’ll need it), incredibly large garlicey crunchy pickle, and/or hot sauce (if they prefer hotter taste).
The soft bread brightly contrasts the crisp cole slaw, rich mayo oozing the essence of the oils from the peppercorns, the crunchy outside of the crab with all the goodness inside really makes this work…espically since everyone works so hard to get crab meat, in this po boy, we just eat everything!
Salty vs savory / crunchy vs soft / hot vs cold / picking crab vs eating whole – and of course-childhood sandwich awesomeness.
Obviously, this is a seasonal offering, so when we have these as specials, we usually sell out pretty quickly.
Reporting live from QuarryLaneFarms