Soft-Shell Crabs

CATCH INFO: Blue Crabs landed @ Columbia, NC
Fishermen: Denny & Cassandra Reynolds
Catch method: pot

Fried Soft Shell Crabs w/ NC Catch Tartar Sauce – Bit & Grain


Our guess that the first time you saw the perfectly fried legs of a soft-shell crab hanging out of that toasted bun, you had second thoughts. There is no elegant way to explain it. When it comes to soft shell crab, yes, you eat the whole thing.

We are excited to offer soft-shell crabs right now. Living in a world where you can buy just about anything 24/7, soft-shell crabs remind us of seasonality in seafood, and that some of the best things in life are worth waiting for. Like a lot of the items we sell, soft-shell crabs are not available year round, making these flash seasons of availability extra thrilling. The soft shell season is traditionally marked by the first full moon in May, when the blue crab begins its molting season to accommodate summer growth. May through September are the most productive months for live softies, but many restaurants and wholesalers (including Locals) will freeze them to satisfy year-round demand. Science heads may also enjoy this detailed explanation of the molting process.

This recent New York magazine article explains them best, “The name refers not to a species of crustacean but to the molting stage of the blue crab, which sheds its shell in order to trade up to a new one. The best way to cook a soft shell is with as little fuss as possible. If you don’t believe that, just ask the finest seafood chef in the country, Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert, whose minimalist recipe follows.”

Click here for Mr. Ripert’s recipe and a wonderful short video on how to clean and cook live soft shell crabs.

NY Times: 3 Methods, 4 Coatings, 5 Sauces for Softies

Soft-shell Crabs with Corn and Black Bean Relish – Barton Seaver

This Saveur article shares five great recipes for soft-shell crab including panfried with garlic-herb butter.

Pasta with Soft-Shell Crabs – Mark Bittman


Fried Soft Crabs - Garden & Gun Club Supper @ Poole's Diner

Fried Soft Crabs – Garden & Gun Club Supper @ Poole’s Diner

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