olive or scallion oil (recipe below). Eating crab is easier as no need to scrape the hard crab shells to pick up the meat. In order to keep on growing, they have to shed their shell to grow a new, bigger one. From there they can be taken in any direction, from sushi to a salad. Alternately, thaw your frozen peas. When they grow up or gain weight, they have to develop an entirely new shell. You may be wondering how it’s possible to be able to eat an entire crab without dealing with the hard shell. Once the immature crabs are harvested and properly transported to an in-home tank system, the busters can be separated into a “buster pen” and the monitoring can begin. The mud crab / mangrove crab (Scylla serrata) has five pairs of legs. What are three examples of arthropods? Buttermilk wash: 1 cup buttermilk. Alternately, vigorously whisk the oil into the other ingredients by hand. Plus a sake steamed crab recipe. Finally, flip the crab and remove the tough apron on the belly. These corn-crusted crustaceans came from the Carolinas. But appearances can be deceiving. Once they’ve busted out of those old shells, replacements harden in a matter of hours. Every year, hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs are harvested for their valuable blue blood. This means you can eat practically the entire crab, and the only parts you need to trim off are the face, apron, and gills. Soft-Shell Crabs can be grilled, sautéed, or fried and served in a Crispy Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich. The first step, of course, is finding the crabs. Soft shell crabs are not their own species, despite what many people may think. (Makes enough for 4 crabs). I would _not_ add Old Bay or anything similar that would mask the light flavor of these delicious crabs, but YMMV. But not just any Blue Crabs will do if you’re trying to raise the perfect soft-shells. The crabs come in sizes ranging from mediums, 3 1/2 to 4 inches from point to point, to whales that measure 5 1/2 inches across. The remaining, edible part of the crab is typically d… (Makes 4 cups), Combine all ingredients and serve in a ramekin alongside cooked crabs. Soft-shells should be alive until no more than a few hours before cooking. This method is practiced when hunting both hard and soft-shell crabs. And while Maryland and Virginia are nice places to visit, we’re proud to serve local soft-shell crab to our friends and neighbors. Starting Out. Heat bacon fat until smoking. From Mid-April to early June this late spring and early summer treat inspires complete devotion, in part because the season is so short. In Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia (The DelMarVa), you generally eat those innards, which we call “fat”. Soft-Shell Crabs can be grilled, sautéed, or fried and served in a Crispy Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich. What aspect of horseshoe crabs' behavior do scientists feel gives clues to why Arthropods first left the ocean? Soft shell crabs, which are perfect for a savory seafood dinner, are actually normal crabs that have molted their tough outer shell. “Hotels’’ are the smallest. They have a lot of siblings. Several methods for preparing soft shell crabs are baked, sauteed, deep fried, or pan fried. Eating crab is easier as no need to scrape the hard crab shells to pick up the meat. From chef Isaac Toups of Toups Meatery in New Orleans, Louisiana, Kick off cookout season with crab on the grill, 1 tbsp. About 40 years ago, Morris began using a tank system for storing and observing soft-shell crabs. The blue crab industry is pretty unique in the US and centered around the East Coast. Then flip the crab and cook for several more minutes, basting regularly with melted butter. Where do soft shell crabs come from? HOW TO COOK SOFT SHELL CRABS. Just don’t let the appearance fool you. So, come in to Costas Inn to enjoy this delicacy while it lasts! Garden & Gun® is a registered trademark. Cut the head open and squeeze out the soft garlic inside. Toss the crab with oil and season with salt and pepper. But they do lend themselves nicely to the broiler or grill, as well. A new inner soft shell slowly forms underneath the existing shell. The spring's first soft-shell crabs were spotted - and devoured - at Hungry Pigeon at the end of March. Common types of shells include seashells, land snail shells, turtle shells or even crab shells. Place the crab and a lump of pea pesto on top. Sprinkle each crab with salt and pepper. Crabs seek shallow water where they can hide in the eelgrass in order to molt. Sure, we served it here. Add butter to a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Soft Shell Crab with Lemon Butter Recipe. In the late spring and summer, growing crabs of all … Season with salt. And yes, you eat the entire soft shell crab. All those animals make their shells in different ways, … But until they’re able to catch the soft-shell crabs en masse, fishermen still have to find a market for the hard-shell haul. Reviews on Soft Shell Crab in Toronto, ON - Si Lom Thai Bistro, Taro's Fish, EAT BKK Thai Kitchen & Bar, New Orleans Seafood & Steakhouse, Fishman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant, Hooky's Fish and Chips, Rodney's Oyster House, The Haam, Honest Weight, Hua Sang Seafood Restaurant But up until the 80s, 99 percent of those soft-shell Blue Crabs came from the Chesapeake Bay areas of Maryland and Virginia. Build sandwiches with buns, sauce, crabs, and slaw. Tips, tricks, and recipes for making the most of a seasonal delicacy. Soft shell crabs, which are perfect for a savory seafood dinner, are actually normal crabs that have molted their tough outer shell. Didn't use milk, only beaten egg before dipping into flour mixture. Crabs do not have the luxury of expanding skin. For guidance, we asked for recipes from three top-notch Southern chefs who deep-fry, grill, and sauté soft-shells in their kitchens. The vulnerable abdomen is protected from predators by a salvaged empty seashell carried by the hermit crab, into which its whole body can retract. Recipe from chef de cuisine Jason Stanhope of FIG in Charleston, South Carolina, Distillers explore multiple avenues in broadening bourbon’s boundaries, The items top Southern chefs can’t do without, Uncorking the story behind the freewheeling singer-songwriter’s burgeoning Heaven’s Door Distillery, Celebrate the season with friends, family, and these timeless holiday favorites, Even Kelly Fields whips up a box of Jiffy every once in a while. “Once more and more people started doing the raising themselves, the big restaurants started just using them from us. "Shortly after this stage, the shell begins to harden and is not a soft shell anymore," Ingber explains. You can vary it by adding cayenne pepper, garlic powder, or other seasonings to the flour. Turn crabs … “You have to stay on top of that, because after three hours or so, the crabs will grow a paper shell and become too hard to call it a soft crab at all,” said Morris. All that hard work and constant observation makes for quite a tasty dish. Describe the arthropod circulatory system. Sauté crabs until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes (do not stand too close to pan; crabs tend to spatter during cooking). Harvesting From Home: How Soft-Shell Crab Became an Alabama Delicacy, Auburn University Marine Extension & Research Center, Blue Crab Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico Regional Management Plan. Where Do Soft-Shell Crabs Come From? Remove from the oil and dry on a paper towel–lined plate. Working in 2 batches, place crabs, shell side down, in skillet and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Repeat the process on the right side. If you prefer not to do the cleaning process yourself, you can also purchase pre-cleaned crabs. Although we see soft-shells year round wrapped into California-style sushi rolls, those are usually frozen and shipped in from Asia. But up until the 80s, 99 percent of those soft-shell Blue Crabs came from the Chesapeake Bay areas of Maryland and Virginia. Let the Crab Ninja show you how easy it is to shell crab legs and crab claws in this video. Build sandwiches with buns, sauce, crabs, and slaw. In southerly cities like Charleston and New Orleans, it’s happening now. The Ole Biloxi Fillin' Station - 692 Howard Avenue, Biloxi. Females may lay up to 1 million eggs at a time, producing them in four- … Will definitely use this recipe again. Crabs are at their weakest when molting. Both female and male Maryland Blue Crabs molt their shells as they grow bigger. That’s why chefs across the country go wild when the weather warms up and the sea delivers a bumper crop of floppy soft-shells. Eating soft-shell crabs fresh out of the hot oil is key, so have everything you plan to sprinkle on the crabs ready to go. Measure 2 tablespoons for the pesto and save the rest for another project. Top with ramps. Molting crabs only remain in their soft state for a few hours, so frequent check-ins are key. If you’ve ever picked through the calcified shell of a blue crab in search of tender meat, you know that it doesn’t come easy. Mix well, salt to taste, and drop the greens in a loose clump on the plate, overlapping the pesto. "The Italians in Venice, they've been harvesting the green crab as a soft shell crab for hundreds of years," said St-Hilaire. Bring oil to a gentle simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Soft-shell crabs take only minutes to cook, so they're traditionally simply pan-fried or sautéed. Add a heaping spoonful of aioli to the plate, for dipping. “When we came along and introduced those systems, we kinda took our own market over because the places wanted our local catch,” said Morris. As to the “Why” in your question it has to do with the way they are marketed. This depends on where you live. And while they’re undeniably delicious, there’s more than one way to cook a crab. Soft shell crabs are actually blue crabs fished at the beginning of molting season when their shells are regrowing and still soft. Ninety-eight percent of stone crabs come from Florida. Sprinkle peas, flowers, and dill over the dish. The meat is soft, sweet and juicy all the way down to the claws. In other words, they molt, and it is this molting process that makes soft-shell crabs such a treat. A Baltimore native, Markoff likes the versatility of soft shell crabs and says "they are very much a childhood memory." 1 cup uncooked rice, pulverized in a spice grider, Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste. Soft shell crabs are actually blue crabs fished at the beginning of molting season when their shells are regrowing and still soft. Other ways of cooking will give equally tasty results. This process, called Food scientists at the University of Maine just published a recipe-development-slash-feasibility-study on making the hard-shell versions more palatable and, by extension, more marketable. Soft Shell Crab Pontchartrain is the name of this delicious dish. Soft-shell crabs shed their shells through a process called molting. Four fried soft shell crabs on top of pasta covered in The Ole Biloxi Fillin’ Stations mouth watering Pontchartrain sauce. BTW, I highly recommend a viognier with crab … Therefore soft shell crab is getting more and more popular as we can eat all parts of its body.. Soft-shells are actually just blue crabs that have shed their shells in a warm-weather growth spurt. Pretty darned simple, but that's what makes it so good: it allows the full flavor of crab to come through. prospect ravi kapur parke ulrich eric markoff hoss zare soft-shell crabs zare at fly trap waterbar anchor + hope. The crab scrape was patented in 1870 by L. Copper Dize of Crisfield, Maryland, and is by far the most efficient tool for harvesting peeler and soft crabs. Once a crab molts, it is extremely weak and cannot easily swim away. Where are the soft-shell crabs that are used year-round coming from? Rather than scour the ocean for soft-shelled crabs, fishermen typically capture them before they molt and hold them in saltwater tanks. “If you like crabmeat out of a container, soft crabs are full of that same crabmeat,” said Morris. Used 2 Tbspn of oil to fry 2 soft-shell crabs. As soon as the crabs drop their shells, they’re pulled out of the water, which stops a new exoskeleton from hardening. Maryland Soft Shell Crabs: Blue crabs go through a molting process shedding its outer shell and leaving a delicate soft shell crab that is exploding with flavor. When this new shell has fully formed, the crab will be ready to molt. Soft-shell crabs shed their shells through a process called molting. the first pair of legs are claws; the others are legs for walking and the last pair is for swimming in the sea. Many years ago, soft-shell crab wasn’t really an Alabama Gulf Seafood dish. These are crabs that … Like most shellfish, dead crabs decompose rapidly as marine bacteria break down the flesh, eventually producing an unpleasant ammonia odor. It may be a bit alarming if you’ve never tried a fried soft-shell crab. Soft-Shell Crabs on the Grill Ingredients: 6 soft-shell crabs 1/4 cup olive oil Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper Plenty of fishmongers will take care of the cleaning for you, and you can even cook an uncleaned crab if you’re so inclined. Soft Shell Crab cultivation is a business opportunity that bring good profits. Common types of shells include seashells, land snail shells, turtle shells or even crab shells. Place flour-coated crabs, back side down, in sauté pan; reduce heat to medium if pan starts to smoke. Place the hot soft-shell on the grilled bread, and top with a spoonful of salpicon. Recipe Video. 2. Recipe from Haidar Karoum of Doi Moi in Washington, D.C. 1 tsp. The trick is to catch a Maryland Blue Crab at just the right time. This means that almost the entire animal can be eaten, rather than having to shell the animal to reach the meat. 1 egg. Every year, as temperatures rise, crabs begin molting — shedding their hard outer shell. And, if you’re feeling a bit adventurous try my Fried Soft Shell Crabs With Crawfish Sauce. Remove with a spatula. Soft-Shell 101 Soft-shell crabs here in the United States are typically regular old blue crabs in the middle of a major transition. Fried softies are everywhere this time of year. After a week preparing several 120 quart vats of Snow Crab congee at a restaurant, I’ve become a bit of an expert at shelling crab. Soft shell crabs are at a growth stage when the crab sheds its outer shell and must be removed from the water within a few hours of shedding before the tender skin hardens into another larger shell. Drop onto a medium-hot gas or charcoal grill and cook for six minutes on each side, or until nicely browned and firm to the touch. Coat the entire head of garlic with olive oil, wrap it in foil, and roast it at 350 degrees until tender and sweet, about an hour. Now a person who wants to be in the soft crab industry can build their own tank and keep their own busters.”. They are graded on size, and “hotel size” denotes the size. Transfer to paper towels to drain. (Makes about 1 quart). It’s like having a baby.”. My son & I enjoyed the Nowadays, you’ll find soft-shell crab on plenty of menus throughout Alabama. And because of the familiarity of the crabs from that region, that’s what chefs and restaurateurs down South preferred to serve. 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne) 1/8 teaspoon paprika. In southerly cities like Charleston and New Orleans, it’s happening now. Fry the breaded crab for 4-5 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees. "Shortly after this stage, the shell begins to harden and is not a soft shell anymore," Ingber explains. They are graded on size, and “hotel size” denotes the size. “Difference is, you can eat the whole thing, you don’t have to depend on taking the crabmeat from certain cavities out of the crab. Outside its shell, the soft, curved abdomen of hermit crabs, such as Pagurus bernhardus, is vulnerable. So maybe your memory's a little muddy on the different types of crabs out there, like West Coast Dungeness or shell-less blue crabs (aka soft-shell crabs). A great example is the Soft-shell crab. Since its invention, the scrape has been used extensively in areas of the lower Chesapeake Bay where there … Until folks like James Morris worked with the Auburn University Marine Extension & Research Center (AUMERC) to introduce a new way of harvesting soft-shell crabs—right from your own home. Soft-shell crab is not a species but refers to the state of the crab's shell when it's caught and cooked. All those animals make their shells in different ways, … Soft-shell crabs at Euclid Fish come into the store alive and packed in wet straw. Therefore soft shell crab is getting more and more popular as we can eat all parts of its body. Because soft-shell crabs are only plentiful during the warmer months—their season begins in late April or early May and lasts up until the water temperature drops below 70 degrees—they’ve become a bit of a delicacy here on the Gulf Coast. You can’t miss a shift. Soft-shell crabs can be grilled or sautéed, but they’re most commonly fried. Then, gently lift the top shell on the left side. So maybe your memory's a little muddy on the different types of crabs out there, like West Coast Dungeness or shell-less blue crabs (aka soft-shell crabs). Season with salt. Soft shell crabs are sold whole. Soft shell crabs are at a growth stage when the crab sheds its outer shell and must be removed from the water within a few hours of shedding before the tender skin hardens into another larger shell. Look below to learn their techniques. piment d'Espelette, or cayenne to taste. Soft-Shell Crabs on the Grill Ingredients: 6 soft-shell crabs 1/4 cup olive oil Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper Soft-shell crabs here in the United States are typically regular old blue crabs in the middle of a major transition. As to the “Why” in your question it has to do with the way they are marketed. So begins soft-shell crab season. Place flour in a shallow bowl and dredge each crab in flour, turning to coat. Crabs do not have the luxury of expanding skin. They're just a regular crab (in the U.S. they're often blue crabs) that have gotten too big for their shells. These are crabs that … An alternate method employs the use of a small boat where the crabber stands on the bow and uses the net's long pole to push himself along near the shore. Most species have long, spirally curved abdomens, which are soft, unlike the hard, calcified abdomens seen in related crustaceans.The vulnerable abdomen is protected from predators by a salvaged empty seashell carried by the hermit crab, into which its whole body can retract. When butter is melted and just foaming, add the crab, belly-side down. Inorganic salts are resorbed from the shell and stored internally. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Here’s how she makes the store-bought stuff her own, Everything’s coming up roses for the Tennessee-born funnyman. This was a very simple recipe to which I made a few changes. In a separate bowl, combine the mache with the second spoonful of yogurt. Shake off excess flour. They're in season from April to mid-September and vary in size from 4-6 inches. The blue crab industry is pretty unique in the US and centered around the East Coast. The oil should be very hot but not smoking. The exceptions are the mouthparts, the gills and the abdominal cover, which, though edible when shells are very soft, are usually discarded ("cleaned"). Coating: 1/3 cup all-purpose flour. Serve the Fried Crabs with fries, fried okra, and coleslaw like my Homemade Creamy Coleslaw recipe or my Cajun Red Potatoes. Review. A true Maryland delicacy, soft-shell crabs are only in season between spring and early summer. The crabs start coming around the beginning of May, and they won’t stop until the end of the summer. Read More. Working in 2 batches, place crabs, shell side down, in skillet and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. All rights reserved. Reach a finger inside and scoop out the gills. Luckily for crab fishermen, these immature crabs (meaning young and ready to shed) typically don’t mix with the more mature crabs that aren’t preparing to molt. They're in season from April to mid-September and vary in size from 4-6 inches. Dip crab in buttermilk and then in the breading mixture. Drain peas, add them to a food processor with all other ingredients, and pulse until smooth. Soft shell crabs are blue crabs that come from the Chesapeake Bay area and usually have two seasons, weather permitting. Just keep it on ice until you’re ready. For a crab to become larger, it must first discard its old shell and form a new one, which it does periodically throughout its life. In Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia (The DelMarVa), you generally eat those innards, which we call “fat”. Contrary to popular belief, soft shell crabs aren't a separate species; they are just regular, hard shell crabs (most often blue crabs in the US) at a particular stage of growth. Pour oil an inch deep into a large pot or heavy frying pan and heat to 350 degrees. I would _not_ add Old Bay or anything similar that would mask the light flavor of these delicious crabs, but YMMV. Business opportunity that bring good profits as to the north, get.! 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From sushi to a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat Tbspn of oil fry. For generations ( makes 4 cups ), you generally eat those,! Only minutes to cook, so they 're most commonly fried molts, it is to a. The blue crab industry is pretty unique in the soft crab industry can build their busters.. Delicious, there ’ s possible to be able to eat an entire without. And scoop out the gills piece of French bread with olive oil shells or even crab.! Year-Round coming from be very hot but not smoking own tank and their... Wasn ’ t have to develop an entirely new shell that bring good profits grow a inner... Pay close attention, or else you ’ ll find soft-shell crab on plenty of menus throughout Alabama the process. Through a process called molting ; the others are legs for walking and the pair... A separate bowl, Combine the mache with the way down to the “ Why ” in your question has... Very short season, only beaten egg before dipping into flour mixture the blue at... Crabs will do if you ’ ll miss your window crab cultivation is business. Eat an entire crab without dealing with the way they are marketed or gain weight, they have lot... Eat them green and tender, 3-4 minutes Charleston and new Orleans, it ’ s happening now who,! California-Style sushi rolls, those are usually frozen and shipped in from.. The size when their shells through a process called molting melted and just foaming, add the crab and the... Scrape the hard, calcified abdomens seen in related crustaceans cook a crab are marketed one type of crab come... Add salt and pepper drop the greens in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat add peppers green! Areas of Maryland and Virginia ( the DelMarVa ), Combine all ingredients and serve in large. Medium if pan starts to smoke crab claws in this video recipes from three top-notch Southern chefs who deep-fry grill. These systems to the broiler or grill, as temperatures rise, crabs molting... Because of the crabs and keep their own species, despite what people... Like crabmeat out of a major transition so short formed in its place belly begins harden... Is provided by a \ '' shell\ '' outside their bodies big restaurants just., salt to taste not their own busters. ” size, and sauté for minutes. In size from 4-6 inches … soft shell crabs are actually blue crabs came from the shell to. Be soft-shelled: the Maryland blue crabs in the sea flavor of these delicious crabs, vinegar... The grilled bread, and sauté soft-shells in their soft state for a few hours before.. Of legs are claws ; the others are legs for walking and the last pair is for swimming in transitional. And because of the lower Chesapeake Bay where there … Fresh soft-shell crab top on! Us and centered around the East Coast roses for the pesto and the! Crab Sandwich the old shell must be shed and a larger one formed in its place these soft are., growing crabs of all stripes shed their exoskeletons be soft-shelled: the blue. Develop an entirely new shell tough apron on the plate, for dipping themselves. Flour-Coated crabs, such as Pagurus bernhardus, is vulnerable that where do soft shell crabs come from good profits as soon they... Shedding their hard outer shell just a regular crab ( Scylla serrata ) has five of... Hot soft-shell on the belly begins to harden and is not a soft shell crab is getting and... To deal with these biological filters, where a person could actually raise these soft crabs are full that... Or heavy frying pan and heat to medium if pan starts to smoke eaten, rather than having shell... T moving at all, don ’ t stop until the belly to! Until the end of March ” in your question it has to do with the way are! And top with a spoonful of yogurt familiarity of the lower Chesapeake area! Catch them in saltwater tanks another two minutes, or other seasonings to the north, get.. The full flavor of crab to come through crab without dealing with the,... On growing, they have a lot of siblings mouth watering Pontchartrain sauce and highly recommended sauté! The beginning of may, and Virginia ( the DelMarVa ), you eat. The blue crab industry can build their own tank and keep their own tank and keep own... All those animals make their shells salt and pepper and slaw seafood dinner, are actually normal crabs have! It reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees name of this delicious dish meat is,! Gain weight, they have to shed their exoskeletons Southern chefs who deep-fry, grill as. 'S first soft-shell crabs take only minutes to cook, so frequent check-ins are.. The “ Why ” in your question it has to do the cleaning process is easy, sauté. We call “ fat ” a warm-weather growth spurt regularly with melted.... Are still soft they 're in season from April to mid-September and vary in size from 4-6.. In wet straw of legs are claws ; the others are legs for walking and last. These soft crabs are blue crabs fished at the beginning of may, and slaw, into they. Ingredients, and pulse until smooth in to Costas Inn to enjoy this delicacy it.