Soft shell maryland crab goodness

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rosetattoo76
Junior Burger
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2006/04/02 07:40:20 (permalink)

Soft shell maryland crab goodness

Looks like I'm going to miss the season by a hair...I will be in DC only the last weekend of April
Does anyone know how I can take some soft shells I find up in Boston at Whole Foods and make them resemble my hometown taste?
#1

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    BT
    Filet Mignon
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    RE: Soft shell maryland crab goodness 2006/04/02 13:09:11 (permalink)
    The soft shells you find in Boston are almost certainly the same ones they wish they had in Baltimore (or wherever your hometown is). I grew up in Maryland and lived for a few years in Baltimore. My sister lived there much longer (she married a Baltimoron). I can remember years when every Asian seafood market in SF had crates of softshells, live and packed in seaweed, available. I'd tell my sister and she would yell something about there being none in Baltimore. That's of course, because the Chesapeake watermen are no fools and realize they can get more for the catch in places like SF and Boston than locally.

    So those Whole Foods crabs likely not long ago were minding their own business in Cambridge (that's where my uncle kept his pens where he watched them molt, then grabbed 'em for the market), Easton or maybe Tangier Island (hopefully NOT Baltimore Harbor). The simplest way to cook them is to simply dredge them in flour and saute' them in butter. Then slap 'em between two pieces of bread and call it a sandwich. That's pretty much the way my Mom did it.

    PS--They've pretty much got to be still live when they hit the pan, so don't be squeamish. Oh, and if you know of a Chinese or other Asian fish market in your area, check and see if they don't sell softshells cheaper than Whole Foods.
    #2
    dreamzpainter
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    RE: Soft shell maryland crab goodness 2006/04/02 14:01:48 (permalink)
    Growing up on the Barnaget Bay in So.Jersey we would catch a few softees a month, usually on a full moons high tide. Mom would cut out the eyes/mouth, rinse and freeze them till there was enough for dinner. Then cooked pretty much like BT said only served on a Kaiser roll....
    #3
    lleechef
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    RE: Soft shell maryland crab goodness 2006/04/02 20:17:17 (permalink)
    BT is right, any live soft shell crabs found in Boston (or anywhere for that matter) came from the Chesapeake Bay, probably the "Handy Soft Shell Crab Co." Unfortunately they do not ship to Alaska. Softies are one of my favorite foods.....dredged in flour seasoned with a little Cajun spice or Old Bay and pan-fried, drizzled with a little lemon beurre blanc. Buy the biggest ones you can find, they'll be expensive, but there's more "body" than legs and it's worth the extra money!
    #4
    sbpressman
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    RE: Soft shell maryland crab goodness 2006/04/02 20:22:50 (permalink)
    Just a tip. When you pan fry soft shell crabs, put a cast iron pan on top or otherwise weight them down. It forces out the water, so the crabs taste more meaty.
    #5
    Phildelmar
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    RE: Soft shell maryland crab goodness 2006/04/02 20:52:42 (permalink)
    I agree, weight them down, and then season the mayonaise for the sandwich interestingly..cilantro adds something
    #6
    BT
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    RE: Soft shell maryland crab goodness 2006/04/03 01:54:56 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    BT is right, any live soft shell crabs found in Boston (or anywhere for that matter)


    Handy has an interesting web site--including recipes-- http://www.handycrab.com/softshell.htm . I was surprised to note that in addition to the product with which I am familiar--live softshells--they also ship "chilled, dressed" and even frozen softshells. Even more to my surprised, they sell imported softshells. They don't say where these come from. I'm not sure I want to know. Seeing as they are an old-line Crisfield, MD establishment, it seems a little traitorous. Besides, I didn't realize Callinectes sapidus (the blue crab) was found anywhere beyond the estuaries of the eastern and Gulf coast of North America. Somebody must have found a way to farm them in Asia or something. That, of course, suggests you may need to be more concerned than I realized about the taste and origin of the Whole Foods crabs in Boston.
    #7
    lleechef
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    RE: Soft shell maryland crab goodness 2006/04/03 02:48:42 (permalink)
    The imported ones usually come from VietNam or Bangladesh.....just like the Tiger shrimp.
    #8
    MikeS.
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    RE: Soft shell maryland crab goodness 2006/04/11 00:14:41 (permalink)
    Under the new marketing laws doesn't the seller have to tell us where they came from?

    MikeS.
    #9
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