Imagine shedding your clothes and being scooped up naked then eaten by some giant. That’s what happens when we catch and eat crab as “softshells.”
They’ve outgrown their exoskeleton so they molt, leaving a delicate and papery enclosure. We eat them “papery enclosure” and all. Crunch!
Today with stir fried mushrooms, shallots and peppers on the side! Start with crimini’s.
Ask your fishguy to clean your crabs, by the way. He’ll cut off their spiny faces and tails and pull out their lungs, then fold them back into shape, ready to cook. Ready to start your veggies?
Here we go!
Season-salt the crabs and then dredge them in corn starch.
Flour is too Italian. Corn starch is lighter and brings an Asian tempura note.
In a sauté pan melt two tablespoons of butter in two tablespoons of olive oil. We’ll need that much fat to crisp the corn-starchy exteriors.
When it is super-hot and almost smoking, throw them in.
We’re making sandwiches today, so hollow out your rolls.
When they get crunchy and orangey-red--about five or six minutes--flip them over.
Add another mushroom to your mix!
These are shiitake’s.
Now comes the fun part.
After they cook hard for another two or three minutes, douse them good with balsamic vinegar. And watch out!
They’ll sizzle and spurt and the acrid smoke will sting your eyes while you shake that sauté pan.
But YUM...the balsamic reduces and coats the crab all over, making a kind of buttery salad dressing with the hot oil and melted butter.
From here be quick; plate the roll and sizzling crab and add some mesclun salad.
Scoop saute´d vegetables on the side and you'd better do it soon; softshell’s are going quickly and are finished when Summer is over.
It’s okay to be a little shellfish now and then. :-D