I love fried soft shell crabs as well as I love steamed hard crabs. I know my mom often cooked soft crabs but I believe she purchased them from the local seafood store. Later years I also purchased my soft shell crabs from the market also. I do remember a guy who came around with fresh fish and the soft crabs to sell. Mom always bought both fish and soft shell crabs from him but we caught our own hard crabs. I so remember Mr. Frankie with his rusted old pickup with coolers in the back filled with ice and a scale hanging on a pole. That was better than a trip to the seafood store. Oh the good ole days.
FRIED SOFT SHELL CRABS
To prepare soft shell crabs that need to be cleaned — lift up the pointed ends of the crab and remove the spongy fingers. Cut off the face, pull off the apron and remove any spongy stuff under it. Wash crab in cold water and wipe dry. Season with salt and pepper and fry in one inch butter or margarine in a skillet about 7 minutes on each side.
FRIED SOFT SHELL CRABS (mom’s recipe)
Season the fresh cleaned soft crabs in fine dry bread crumbs on both sides, then in a beaten egg and back again the fine dry bread crumbs. Fry on both sides in butter until brown on both sides. Seasoned flour can also be used instead of bread crumbs. Serve on buns or rolls. I just dredge my soft crabs in flour, salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning and fry in oil.
STUFFED SOFT CRABS
Clean and dry 12 medium soft crabs with paper towels. Place crabs in a shallow baking pan. Remove top shell from the crabs and fill with a mixture of 1 pound backfin crabmeat and 1/2 cup butter or margarine that is mixed well. Stuff crabs with about 3 tablespoons of the mixture. Bake at 400 degrees until shells turn red and crabs are brown slightly, about 15 minutes. Delicious.
In a large saucepan combine 2 chopped onions, 4 medium chopped tomatoes, 7 cups water, 1 cup diced raw white potatoes, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 3 sprigs parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon thyme and 1/4 teaspoon ground red chili peppers. Cover, bring to a boil, simmer. Meanwhile in a skillet add 4 tablespoons butter and 1 pound crabmeat. Sautee lightly until until brown, stirring frequently. Add crabmeat to vegetable mixture, cook on low for 30 minutes. Serve hot.