This past Tuesday, we had dinner at the foodie’s house…with a little twist in our ritual. It was my turn, but it was her husband’s birthday, so he and the architect’s husband joined us for a birthday dinner (remember, I am Bachelorette #1, so I went stag….my life size cardboard cutout of President Obama does not fit in my Mini Cooper unless I put him through the sunroof and I didn’t want to get arrested by the local police who sniff me out whenever I do something even remotely wayward in my vehicle).
Sorry…back to Tuesday.
Anyway, she made soft shell crabs and I never had soft shell crabs before mainly because I didn’t understand how one could eat a whole crab including the stuff you’re not supposed to eat. So, being an inquisitive sort, I had to investigate how to clean a soft shell crab to make it completely edible. First, you need to know that a soft shell crab is actually a blue crab that has outgrown and shed its shell. When the “molting” is complete, but before the crab begins to grow another hard shell, the exposed crustacean is whisked out of the water, and immediately prepared or frozen.
Ehow.com enlightened me on how to clean a soft shell crab:
1. Cut off the face with culinary shears
2. Cut off the bottom flap, or “apron”
3. Cut the guts out with a sharp knife
4. Remove the intestines by partially peeling back the top shell and then pulling them out….damn, I’m glad I’m not a crab.
OR you can just go to Hill’s and buy them already cleaned and ready to be prepared.
Preparing a soft shell crab to eat:
First, our hostess dredged the crabs in flour that was seasoned with salt and pepper, and
then she fried them until....
they were golden, about 3-5 minutes on each side…that’s it…very simple.
I must say that those little critters were very tasty indeed…..subtlety briny and very sweet. We also had rice and asparagus and for dessert, the most delicious homemade apricot tart with homemade cardamom ice cream…it was a lovely birthday evening, complete with Tom Collins cocktails and a wonderful bottle of wine. There was an arrangement of freshly cut hydrangas from her garden on the table that, along with the crabs, shouted "summer is here!" Hooray!