Soft-Shell Crabs: Love 'Em or Hate 'Em?

Soft-Shell Crabs: Love 'Em or Hate 'Em?

'Tis the season for these delicacies. Blue crabs are starting to outgrow their shells and wriggle right out of them, making themselves vulnerable to being eaten whole (preferably fried, on a sandwich). Do you eat soft-shell crabs? Or do you find chewing on their thin, edible exteriors a little odd?

After many years of ordering soft-shell crabs just because they're special and in season, we're finally admitting that we don't really like them. The appeal is that, unlike with regular crabs where you have to dig and suck for the meat, you can eat the entire soft-shell crab just as it is—naked and delicious.

Most cooks batter and fry them; they're a very popular po' boy filling. And the crunchiness is kind of nice. But we find that more often than not, we have to chew too vigorously on the legs and body of the crab, which takes away from the flavor and only lets us meditate on the texture. We tend to agree with the writer of the Gourmet article (link below) who says it's like "eating cooked fingernails."

What's your opinion? Do you eat soft-shell crabs in season?

Learn more:
• This Beginner's Guide to Soft Shell Crabs from Serious Eats gives tips on how to buy them.
• A naysayer's opinion in Soft Shells: A Hard Sell, from Gourmet.
• A Food Network video about one family's soft-shell crab business in North Carolina.

The recipes above, from Martha Stewart:
Cornmeal-Crusted Soft-Shell Crabs
Soft-Shell Crabs with Sliced Sweet Onion

Related: What's the Difference? Hard Shell vs. Soft Shell Clams


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