Soft Shell Crabs for Sunday Dinner

We are huge soft shell crab fans in my house, but only really get to enjoy them in our takeout spider roll a few times a year. Right now, though, they are in season up here in New York and when I spied them at our new fish store (we are so lucky, everything there tastes like the boat-to-market time is, like, one hour) we snatched up a half dozen and, because they are so fresh, served super simply with a big green salad and Andy’s World Famous spicy potatoes. (Coming soon to a book near you!) When I posted this pic on instagram, there was a common theme to the comments from people who swiped up: Intimidation. So here I am showing you how unbelievably easy they are to make. Literally no different than any other fish you’d pan-fry — but probably ten times as special tasting. Now, you just have to find a good fish market.

Easy Soft Shell Crabs
This fed three of us (two crabs per person), adjust accordingly.

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
6 soft shell crabs
1/3 cup white wine
juice from half a lemon
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
fresh herbs, like parsley or chives (optional)

Add oil and 1 tablespoon butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add crabs to the skillet making sure not to crowd the pan. (Do it in batches if necessary.) Cook 5 to 6 minutes total, flipping half way through. Remove the crabs from the pan on to a platter, and add remaining butter, wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Turn heat to high and reduce by about half. Drizzle the sauce all over the platter of crabs and serve.

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Sarah O'Connor

How do you eat soft shell crabs? Just munch the whole thing? Shell, guts and all?


There is no shell. If you like crabs, soft-shells are great! All the flavor, none of the work. BUT, there’s my question. Because they still have to be cleaned – lungs and other unmentionables removed.