Cooking With Carla

By: Carla Kneeland
By: Carla Kneeland

Captain Anderson's Blue Crabs

Blue crabs are a seafood lover favorite, but picking the tasty meat out of the hard shell is for the patient and the skillful. The solution? Catching blue crabs at just the right stage. Let’s find out why!

Once a month blue crabs molt their hard shells and become 100 percent edible. Considered a delicacy, they taste best fried, but before you cook them, you have to "dress" them properly.

James Edwards is the chef at Captain Anderson's, and he's going to show us how to make soft shell crabs.

The hardest part about preparing soft shell crabs is finding them. They’re available fresh just a few times a year at your local fish market. They come live, wrapped in straw and newspaper to keep them moist.

Considered restaurant fare, soft shell crabs are surprising easy to cook at home. The gory part is the cleaning.

Turn the crab right side up and unfold each of the sides. You will see four or five fat stringy things. Remove these either with your scissors or your hands.

Flip the crab over and you will see a triangular "tail" piece folded up against the body of the crab. Unfold it and snip it off, too. Then, and this is the ghoulish part, with a sharp knife, snip off the "face" of the crab, from behind the eyes.

There will be yellowish stuff coming out of the crab, try to squeeze out as much as possible as this is very bitter and fishy tasting.

James them dredges the crabs in plain flour. The fresh crabs have a wonderful briny taste from the ocean and doesn't require anymore seasoning.

Cover both sides of the crab and place in hot butter, margarine or olive oil. Just two minutes on each side, than drain the crabs on a paper towel before serving.

Here's the restaurant version served with lemon and parsley versus home cooked, and yes, they are 100 percent edible.

If you're too squeamish to clean the crabs yourself, you can find them year-round in your grocer’s frozen section already cleaned.


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