Folklore from Virgina Seafood
"The soft-shell season is traditionally marked with the first full moon in May.At that time, the blue crab begins its molting season to accommodate its summer growth.The actual shedding of the shell can take anywhere from one to three hours, after which it must be removed or the hardening process will continue, reducing the quality of the soft-shell crab."
For more info on soft shell crab season visit:
( American Dahlia Society)
CRISPY SOFT-SHELL CRABS with BUTTER NOISETTE
and AGED BALSAMIC VINEGAR
~ For those who wait patiently each year craving soft-shell crabs, a treasured recipe from "Crave See Touch Smell Hear Taste" by Ludo Lefebyre.
6 Tbsp. clarified butter*, divided
(* Slowly melt 1 stick unsalted butter over low heat. Skim off and discard milk solids that rise to top. Retain clear clarified butter)
8 cleaned and dressed soft-shell crabs, about 2 oz. each
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
all-purpose flour for dredging crabs
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup strained fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. chopped, drained and rinsed capers
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 Tbsp. seeded & finely diced tomato
- Preheat oven to 200-degrees.
- In large heavy skillet, heat 3 Tbsp. clarified butter over medium-high heat. Sprinkle crabs with sea salt and pepper. Dredge 4 crabs in flour, shake off excess, and add to clarified butter in pan. Cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer crabs to baking sheet and keep warm in oven.
- Wipe out skillet and repeat with remaining 3 Tbsp. of clarified butter and 4 crabs. (Stop here for sandwiches).
- Add unsalted butter to skillet. Stir over medium-low heat until butter melts and is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Whisk in lemon juice, ginger, balsamic vinegar, capers, parsley and tomato. Season sauce to taste with sea salt & black pepper.
- To serve, place 2 crabs each on 4 plates. Spoon sauce over crabs and serve immediately or 1 on each plate for an appetizer. (4 or 8 servings)
CRISPY SOFT-SHELL CRAB SANDWICH
Sauteed crabs recipe from above
16 slices French bread (toasted, untoasted or grilled)
1/4 -inch sliced plum tomatoes
8 Bibb lettuce leaves
Lemon Tarter Sauce
Slather bread(toast) with Lemon Tarter Sauce. Top with crispy crab, tomato slices and Bibb lettuce.
LEMON TARTER SAUCE
1/2 cup regular or light mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup drained chopped sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
pinch sea salt
Combine all ingredients early and chill to blend flavors.