6.16.2008

Enough With Deep Fried Soft Shells

I love soft shell crabs. I love them best lightly coated in flour and gently sautéed in butter that's just starting to brown.

But almost every soft shell I've stuck a fork into this season in a restaurant has been hiding in a cocoon of deep fried coating. Why do so many chefs batter the hell out of the poor, delicate creatures and toss them in a deep fryer?

Don't get me wrong — I love fried food. I just think the flavor of the crab gets lost under all that coating. And it can't be easier to deep fry them, right? Maybe for the squeamish it hides the fact that you're eating the whole crab? To be honest, I'm baffled by all that batter.

How do you like your soft shells? Seen any restaurants simply sautéeing them?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think Mio's was sauteed. It was definitely delicious.

chef4cook said...

I usually saute them but on occasion I will deep fry in tempura. I would suppose that the reason you see a lot of "Deep Fried Softies" is because it takes a dish away from saute, which is typically the busiest station.

a.c. said...

Grilling is an underappreciated way to prepare softshells. I like to marinate for 15 or 20 minutes in white wine, garlic, soy sauce, olive oil and a dash of hot sauce, then slap them on the grill just until the y crisp up and turn red. Then, I often halve them and put them over a salad. The result is simple, healthy, delicious, has great texture and really lets the crab stand out.

Josh said...

Coppi's had some delicately prepared soft shells when they were just becoming available...maybe 2 weeks ago or so. Perhaps they are still on the menu.

Dusty said...

Anon. is right - Mio does a pan-seared soft-shell with a confit of red peppers and flat parsley froth for $16. Very yummy!

LizTurtle said...

I just had soft shell crabs at Tony & Joe's, of all places (yes, they apparently do more than serve kids with fake ids . . . .). I don't know if it was sauteed or deep-fried, but there was not much breading. It was actually really tasty & hit the soft shell spot!

heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

Thanks for all the ideas. Looks like I have some reservations to make.

Chef4cook - that's an interesting theory. Thanks for the kitchen insight.

a.c. - I was just asking my dad if he'd ever grilled them. This is now on the top of my list for cooking this week. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Amalfi's in Rockville sautees their shells, basic, but not fried.

W. Mark Felt, Sr. said...

This was a problem on a recent visit to Majestic for me...

http://dclovesfood.blogspot.com/2008/07/majestic-isnt-exactly-word-i-would-use.html

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