If you love seafood, especially shellfish, like crustaceans, you might have consumed soft shell crabs—or, at least, hope to. Maybe you enjoy them, or you dislike them.
I personally love them. However, they’re only available from mid-spring to early fall. So, when I can get them, I do it as much as possible.
My first introduction to soft shell crabs
I don’t recall how I got into soft shell crabs. But it’s possible that my mom had introduced them to me years ago, either by suggesting that I order them in a restaurant, or buy them at a grocery store.
If you purchase them at a supermarket, it is essential to cook them that day—otherwise they will go bad and you’ll have to toss them into the trash. This actually happened to me one time. That is how I learned.
An even crazier situation
When I saw them at a local supermarket in my area, I bought them, assuming they were already dead since that was always the case in the past. But after I took them home, I thought I saw a tiny amount of movement. I considered myself a little insane at first.
But when I rinsed them under the faucet of my kitchen sink… they moved a little more. I jumped back, shrieked, and shouted, “They’re alive, they’re alive!”
I am not kidding. The tap water from the faucet made them livelier, something I would never have expected. After all, soft shell crabs are saltwater creatures—not tap water ones. I don’t even think there are such things as tap water crustaceans.
Upset that the people behind the seafood counter at that grocery store hadn’t told me that the crabs were still alive, as well as feeling clueless, I called them, and asked what to do. The guy who answered told me to just leave them out for a while.
Then I called my mom. She suggested that I return the crabs and inform them that I didn’t want to cook them while they were alive.
I actually considered reporting the store for neglecting to let me know that the crabs remained alive. But I didn’t need to. Instead, despite how afraid I was of the live crabs in the strainer I’d put them in, I stuck them into the freezer for a few hours. After that, I cooked them for dinner.
How I cook soft shell crabs
I used to use all-purpose flour and olive oil before baking them in the oven. However, due to having bad anxiety and restricting my gluten intake, I swapped out the regular flour to almond flour. It works just as well. I also don’t put salt or pepper on the crabs since they already came from the ocean.
Ways to cook the crabs
You could bake them the way I do (but toss them in other ingredients if you wish), sauté them, or even deep fry them. Some restaurants even serve soft shell crab sandwiches where the crabs are fried in batter.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my journey with cooking soft shell crabs. Some events might have intrigued you, surprised you, or inspired you.