The Soft Shell Crab season is under way here is South Louisiana, so I thought why not share the process with all of our friends. I took a trip to Cypermort Point, La. to see my friend Joey Edgar with St. Mary Seafood. He gave me a tour of his facility and a run down of how the molting process works.
A blue crab will molt its shell in order to grow. The crab normally increases about 1/3 in size on each molt, once it sheds its exoskeleton, or outer shell. The entire process takes about 2-3 hours and within 2 hours the new shell has begun to harden. During that time the crab must be removed from the water so that the shell stays soft.
I’m going to share a recipe with you so that if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some fresh soft-shell crab you’ll know what to do with them.
First : to prep the crab there are a few things that you must do:
- remove the eyes and mouth, i’ve found that the best tool for that job is a pair of scissors, just cut straight across the front of the crab to remove them
- Remove the gills… under each side of the points, lift the soft shell and you will see the gills…just pull them out.
- Remove the plate under the crab… if it is a male it will look like a point and a female will look like a u shaped plate.
Now your crabs are ready.
Place a large skillet on the stove and pour in enough vegetable oil to fill it up 1/3 of the way and turn to medium/high heat ( heat oil to 350 degrees).
Next in a medium sized bowl add ~ 2 eggs , 1 cup of milk, and a teaspoon of Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning. Whisk all ingredients until together until combined to make an egg wash.
In another medium sized bowl pour in a pack of Tony Chachere’s Seasoned Fish Fry Mix.
Now take your preped crabs one at a time and place into the egg wash and coat evenly then place into the bowl of Tony Chachere’s Seasoned Fish Fry Mix and coat evenly. Then slowly place the crab into the hot skillet claws first ( be very careful because it is very likely that the grease will pop when the crab is placed into the oil.) Cook until golden brown about 2 minutes and then using a pair of tongs carefully flip the crab and let cook for an additional 2 minutes on the opposite side. After 2 minutes remove the crabs and place onto a paper towel lined sheet pan.
Serve while hot and crispy…. but use caution, the juices on the inside are very hot and can burn.
These fresh fried soft shell crabs are unbelievable on their own but for an extra kick serve them with one of our new Sandwich Sauces!