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Advice on Seafood: Cooking Soft-Shelled Crabs

Fried soft shell crab with chili garlic sauce Soft-shelled crabs are most readily found during the hot summer months. However, during the other times of the year, you can still find frozen soft-shelled crabs to help ease your craving....

Fried soft shell crab with chili garlic sauce
Fried soft shell crab with chili garlic sauce

Soft-shelled crabs are most readily found during the hot summer months. However, during the other times of the year, you can still find frozen soft-shelled crabs to help ease your craving. Compared to regular hard-shelled crabs, the soft-shelled version is every bit as flavorful as its hard-shelled counterparts. But the fact that it can be cooked and eaten in its entire form definitely gives soft-shelled crabs a bit of an advantage. Keep reading for some ideas on how to cook them.

Fried and Made into a Sandwich

Soft-shelled crabs are a big deal in the state of Maryland. That's why whenever they're in season, just about all of the local restaurants do their best to come up with a creative way to present the delicacy. Yet, time after time, the most popular way for Marylanders to enjoy a good soft-shelled crab is to simply fry it and place it between two slices of bread. If you're not used to seeing legs hanging out of your sandwich, you might find yourself a bit weirded out by a soft-shelled crab sandwich. However, if you're willing to give it a try, you might be surprised to find that you actually like it.

Rolled into a Spider Roll

For a more unique approach to preparing soft-shelled crabs, try making your own spider roll at home. Spider rolls are sushi rolls that feature battered soft-shelled crabs as its main ingredient. Beyond that, you'll also need avocados, cucumbers, nori, sushi rice, and a touch of spicy mayo to make the delicious spider rolls. Once finished, the spider rolls can be eaten as either an appetizer or as the main course to your meal.

Grilled with a Dash of Old Bay

Want a healthy alternative to fried soft-shelled crabs? Try grilling them for a change. You can kick up the flavor of the soft-shelled crabs by seasoning them with a dash of Old Bay before cooking them over a grill. Old Bay is a Maryland favorite for cooking hard-shelled crabs, but they also work mighty fine for adding extra flavor to the soft-shelled version of the crabs.

Serve It as a Pasta Dish

Soft-shelled crabs aren't just for making sushi rolls or sandwiches. They're also great as the main meat in a pasta dish. So cook up some linguine or spaghetti. Then sauté or fry your lightly seasoned soft-shelled crabs. Toss it all together and enjoy your soft-shelled crab pasta.

Pasta with fried crab
Pasta with fried crab

Eat It Chinese Style

 Want a unique twist on lightly battered soft-shelled crabs? Add salt, pepper, chopped green onions, and red chili to the crabs to make salt and pepper soft-shelled crabs Chinese style. Serve it with a bowl of steamed rice, and you've got yourself a superb Chinese dinner.

Turn It into a Delightful Vietnamese Dish

Another way to give your soft-shelled crabs a nice Asian flair is to cook it with tamarind and chili. It's a very popular way for Vietnamese to people to cook their crabs. For serving the tamarind and chili crabs, you'll want to have some lettuce in addition to the white rice.

Soft shell crab sauteed with chili and onions
Soft shell crab sauteed with chili and onions

Make Good Use of the Leftovers

Even though it doesn't usually happen, every now and then, you might end up with some leftover soft-shelled crabs. When that happens, be sure to make the most of it. Use the crab to make a tasty soup by cooking it into a chowder with some corn. Or if you prefer, you could turn it into a nice batch of crab fried rice.

Want even more advice on seafood cooking? Check out some of the other posts on our website or contact us for more information on using the best cooking products to make delicious meals every day.