Sunday, July 15, 2007

Classic Maryland Style Soft-shell Crabs

I love 99 Ranch! This grocery chain has become my go to place for seafood. I am always on the hunt for crabs and can usually find them, but the quality is sometimes questionable and I don’t want to spend a small fortune to get them. 99 Ranch to the rescue! My latest find has been frozen soft-shells from Vietnam. The price was around $17/dozen and they were a pretty nice size, about 4-5 inches. That’s relatively cheap. They were really pretty and fresh looking. Clean white meat, bright blue shells, I almost thought they would start to move, which kind of gave me the creeps. Best thing is that they are individually wrapped and already cleaned. First dish I wanted to try was pan-frying them in a seasoned coating. This is my standard for making soft-shells. Of course it has Old Bay in it.

6 fresh or defrosted soft-shells
1-11/2 c flour
1/8-1/4 c Old Bay Seasoning
2 eggs beaten
1/2-3/4 c Canola Oil
1 tsp water

(Sorry about the measurements on this. I add to it, as needed, because sometimes you need more coating and oil for frying)

1. Pat the soft-shells so they are relatively dry.
2. Mix the flour and Old Bay together and put on a plate for coating the crabs.
3. Whisk the eggs and add a little water to thin out. Place on a separate plate for dipping the crabs in.
4. Coat the crabs, one at a time, into the egg and then the flour mix. This will be a thin coating. Set aside on a plate till ready to fry. Don’t wait to long or the coating will start to break down.
5. In a fry pan heat the oil and when a drop of water sizzles in the pan place the crabs’ shell side down into the oil. Watch out, as the oil will splatter.
6. Fry for about 3-5 minutes and flip gently when golden brown and fry the bottoms for another 3-5 minutes.
7. Drain the excess oil off on a paper towel and serve with lemon wedges.

I made the dish shown above with a side of red chard from the garden that I diced and quickly sautéed.


Suzanna said...

I always wondered if the 99 ranch soft shell crabs were good. Thanks for the review- I'll give them a shot now!

Fran said...

Those soft shell crabs perked me right up. Great recipe and wonderful photos.
Tired Granny

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Mortimer S Mortimer said...

Thanks for the tip! Will try this weekend!