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Soft-Shell Crabs in Balance... :-D

It's Crab season and "Soft-Shell Crabs in [are the] Balance".

By Melissa Clark and piblished on 15 June 2012 in the New York Times.

"Two things happen when you bite into a perfectly cooked soft-shell crab. First, the crunch — the crisp outer layer of fragile crab that breaks when you bite down. Then, the rush of juice that follows, filling your mouth with a flavor that’s musky, sweet and saline.

Sadly, the quest for one can cancel out the other. To render the tender, underdeveloped shell as brittle, you need to use high heat. But cook the crabs too fiercely for too long and they will leak all their moisture into the pan. Use heat that’s too gentle and you risk cooking the crabs before the shells crisp, leaving the interior plump but the exterior leathery.

Deep-frying is a fail-safe and delectable crab-cooking method. But it’s not particularly convenient.

So instead, for easy weeknight meals, I dry my cleaned crabs thoroughly so they don’t steam, then sauté them in plenty of butter or oil. You could use a breading like flour or cornmeal to augment the crunch factor, but it also impedes the sweetness of the meat. And good crabs don’t really need it.

The trick is to know when to take them off the heat. As soon as they turn from gray-brown to rust and white, the texture goes from soft to taut and they are ready.

Soft-shell crabs don’t need much adornment; a squirt of citrus and some freshly ground black pepper offset the funky sea flavor beautifully. But a little garlic and something green and sprightly (here, a combination of arugula and chives) can make them even better.

In this recipe (see link below), I whipped up a compound butter and then used it in two ways. First, I sautéed the crabs in it. This cooks and sweetens the garlic and wilts the greens. Then I spread the same butter, uncooked, on toast to use as a bed for crab crostini. The raw garlic and sharp herbs add another layer of complexity for the same amount of initial prep.

And the toasted bread underscores the crunch of the crab while catching its juices. Instead of running down your chin, they are sopped up and carried into your waiting mouth. It’s well worth the wait".

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Anybody just love Soft-Shell Crabs as much as I do...'sound-off' here with your comments, ideas and recipes. :yesnod:

"The [Soft-Shell] Crab that walks too far falls into the [sauté pan]". Haitian Porverb

Attached Image: Soft-Shell Crab Crostini With Arugula Butter

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