Simple Soft Shell Crabs at Home

I am gratefully back in the kitchen again creating more simple seasonal meals. Today I am sharing my super simple version of soft shell crabs.

But first, I have a true confession. I was afraid to invest in soft shell crabs because I had this story in my head that they must be hard to make. I didn’t want to waste my time and money on a failure.  On a recent shopping trip, my husband (an enjoyable outing for us, now that the kids are grown) spotted fresh soft shell crabs and suggested we bring some home.

Yikes! I thought, they must be hard to make, because I have only seen them in nice restaurants. However, I am a little overconfident and maybe even cocky in the kitchen, probably due to my Italian heritage.  

Sooooo I agreed to bring them home. I covertly whispered to the fishmonger to tell me the secret to cooking them. To my surprise, he said all they need is a flour dredge and to be sautéed in a pan. Ok, I thought, this can’t be any harder than making chicken french, which is oddly popular in Italian restaurants around here.

 

Simple Soft Shell Crabs

Ingredients:

  • 8 fresh soft shell crabs
  • 1 cup of fine flour for dredging, preferably with salt and pepper, ( If not, generously add fresh ground salt and pepper)
  • 2 eggs
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2  Tbsp. Truffle butter or grass-fed butter

Equipment:

  • 3 paper lunch bags (the old-fashioned brown variety)
  • Shallow bowl for an egg bath
  • Tongs
  • Heavy bottomed large skillet (I prefer cast iron)
  • food thermometer

Directions:

  1. Set up:
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat, and add a swirl of oil enough to coat the bottom. Add the butter.  
  • Cut two of the bags open so that they lay flat, and set aside. Fill the last bag with the flour (and salt and pepper)
  • Mix the eggs in the shallow bowl
  • Set up an assembly line near the stove: flour bag, eggs, flat bags for draining the cooked crabs.
  1. Prepare and cook:
  • Using tongs, drop a crab in the flour bag, shake it lightly,  then dip it the egg bath, and return it to the bag for another flour shake.
  • Add the crab to the pan on medium heat.
  • Repeat until the pan is full
  • Use a thermometer to check for doneness. Crabs are done at 130 degrees, according to my fish guy. Ps- They cook fast.
  • Remove crab with tongs and lay on paper bags to drain
  • Repeat for remaining crabs, adding in more oil & butter if needed.

 

That’s it!

We enjoyed them on top of our Lazy Caesar Salad with a side of corn on the cob for a simple summer supper.  

No more waiting to go out for soft shell crab. This was so easy, and throwing out the paper bags made for an easy cleanup!

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