Having grown up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland nothing screams summer to me more than crabs. My father worked on the water for a living. As a child I spent most of my summers working with him on his boat. He used scrapes that he dragged behind his boat with a net on it. After a few drags, he hand pulled the scrapes up, and emptied the contents into a box attatched to the washboard. It was my job to go through the treasures and pick the legal crabs and sort them. They were sorted by male, female, and size. I used to find all sorts of treasures back then. Seahorses, blow fish, and all sorts of glass and other treasures. It was always a surprise to see what the river sent back to us.
My personal favorite way to eat crabs is frying soft shell crabs. A soft shell is a crab that has molted or shed it’s shell. They are removed from the water as soon as they molt to prevent their shell from hardening. These days, a lot of waterman use floats to manage this process. While these delicate crustaceans are soft, their shell is edible. There is some cleaning involved but a good pair of scissors usually makes quick work of it. If you have never cleaned a crab ask someone to show you or have the seller clean them for you.
I use a very simple mixture to coat the crabs in. It’s what I was taught and they are pretty tasty. I have been using my air fryer to cook them but they can also be sauteed in a skillet; cast iron is the best.
A simple mixture of flour, Old Bay, grated nutmeg, and salt and pepper are the entire ingredients. I use a Ziploc bag to put the mixture in and coat the crabs. It really is quite easy and also helps with clean up. I have listed the recipe with exact measurements but it really isn’t rocket science.
We like them on a good roll with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. If and when you get the chance, have a soft crab. You may never want crab any other way.
- 1 1/2 C all purpose flour
- 2 T Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/4 t fresh grated nutmeg
- 1 t Kosher salt
- 1/2 t fresh ground pepper
- Put all of the above ingredients into a Ziploc bag and shake to mix.
- Rinse the crab under cool water and add to the bag and gently shake to coat. Try to avoid losing any legs or the claws.
- Set on a plate after coating.
In a fry pan: add 1/2 stick butter to the pan and enough vegetable oil to shallow fry. Cook on both sides until nicely browned. Season with additional salt when removed. Place on a plate with paper towels to drain and serve hot.
In an Air fryer. Pre-heat the air fryer to 380 degrees. Use vegetable spray and spray the bottom of your fryer pan. Additionally spray your soft crabs on both sides. I like to cook them top side first. Air fry them at 380 for 6 minutes and flip them over and continue to air fry for another 6 minutes. Remove and place on a plate and serve hot.
NOTE: you can use an egg wash if you prefer instead of water to moisten the crab prior to coating. One egg beaten with a tablespoon of water. Dip the crab and then add to the coating mixture to coat the crab.
Until next time,