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What Does Soft Shell Crab Taste Like?

Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Lauren Beck

If you’ve never had soft shell crab before, you might be wondering what it tastes like. After all, it’s not exactly the most common seafood dish out there. But if you’re curious about trying this delicacy, then you’ve come to the right place.

So what does soft shell crab taste like? These delicate little crabs have a sweet, briny flavor with a hint of nuttiness. Their texture is similar to that of lobster – tender and succulent with a slightly chewy texture. When cooked properly, they are absolutely delicious!

If you’ve never had soft shell crab before, or if you’re looking for a new and exciting way to enjoy them, why not give them a try? They make a great appetizer or main course and are sure to impress your guests!

What Are Soft Shell Crabs?

Soft shell crabs are blue crabs that have recently molted, or shed their hard outer shells. This process happens several times throughout a crab’s lifetime, and it typically occurs during the spring and summer months.

Once they’ve molted, the crabs are no longer able to grow any larger. But they do have a brief window of time (usually just a few hours) where their new shells are still soft. It’s during this time that they’re typically caught and sold to restaurants and markets.

If you’re wondering what happens to the old shells, don’t worry – the crabs eat them! This helps to replenish the calcium that they need to grow their new shells.

Why Are Soft Shell Crabs Soft?

As the name implies, soft shell crabs are crabs that have just molted their hard exoskeleton. This process leaves them vulnerable and their new shells have not yet hardened. As a result, they must be caught and eaten quickly – within 24 hours of molting – before their shells have a chance to toughen up again.

How to Cook Soft Shell Crabs?

Due to their delicate nature, soft shell crabs must be cooked very carefully so as not to overcook and dry them out. The best way to cook them is to sauté, fry or grill them over medium-high heat for just a few minutes until they are crisp and golden brown.

Here are a few tips for cooking soft shell crabs:

  • Do not overcrowd the pan when cooking. This will make it difficult to get an even cook.
  • Be careful not to overcook the crabs. They should only be cooked for a few minutes on each side.
  • If sautéing, frying or grilling, be sure to use a very hot pan so that the crabs cook quickly and do not dry out.

When and Where Can I Buy Soft Shell Crabs?

Stack of fresh soft-shelled crabs in green basket

In the United States, soft shell crab season typically runs from May to October. However, since they are only available for a short time after molting, they can be difficult to find. The best place to buy them is at a seafood market or directly from a crabber.

How to Eat Soft Shell Crab?

Soft shell crabs can be eaten whole – shell and all. Simply remove the eyes, gills and apron (the small flap of shell on the underside) before cooking. Once cooked, they can be eaten as is or served with a dipping sauce.

Is Soft Shell Crab Healthy?

Yes, soft shell crab is a healthy food choice. It is low in calories and fat and high in protein, vitamins and minerals. Soft shell crab is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health.

Are Soft Shell Crabs Cleaned Before Cooking?

No, soft shell crabs are not typically cleaned before cooking. However, you will want to remove the eyes, gills and apron (the small flap of shell on the underside) before cooking. These parts can be removed with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors.

How to Clean and Prepare Soft-Shell Crabs?

To clean soft-shell crabs, remove the eyes, gills and apron (the small flap of shell on the underside). These parts can be removed with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors. Once these parts are removed, the crab is ready to be cooked. There is no need to further clean or rinse the crab.

Can You Eat the Whole Shell?

Yes, the entire shell of the soft-shell crab is edible [1]. However, you may want to remove the eyes, gills and apron (the small flap of shell on the underside) before cooking. These parts can be removed with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors.

Conclusion

Soft shell crabs have a sweet, briny flavor with a hint of nuttiness. Their texture is similar to that of lobster – tender and succulent with a slightly chewy texture. When cooked properly, they are absolutely delicious!

Reference:

  1. https://www.thespruceeats.com/clean-and-cook-soft-shells-continued-1300650#:~:text=Soft%20shell%20crabs%20are%20eaten,bursting%20with%20pure%20crab%20flavor.
Lauren Beck
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