Thursday, April 12, 2012

Soft Shell Crabs!

Dear Readers,

There is a certain seasonal food treasure appearing in the market these days (No. I don't mean Ramps) that I cannot resist. My mother has been, is,and always will be my cooking guru. She loves softshell crabs. No I mean she LOVES softshell crabs. As a kid, she introduced me to their delicious briney taste, their amazing crunchy-poppy texture, and the fun of eating an entire crab- shell and all. whenever I see them? I think of my mom, and I have to them.

I left work at a reasonable hour this fine spring afternoon, and while running errands in Park Slope, Brooklyn, I passed by a little fish monger that looked like it had a nice selection. I went in, and not only was all of their fish beautiful and all fresh, they even had... wait for it... Soft Shell Crabs!

I snapped a photo while he put my 1 soft shell crab in a plastic bag and I sent the photo to my mom to make her jealous (and also check with her my plan to lightly flour it before sauteeing). Her response? "Oh boy, wish I was there. I could down 3 of those, yum!"

I got home, I put the rice on, got the broccoli ready for steaming, put some flour in a bowl, salted, peppered and mixed it up, and took the crab out of the fridge. I figured I would take a couple of photos, as I was very excited to write up this post for you, dearest readers, as I know it has been a while since we had some DATES action! Remember DATES? Developing a Taste for Eating Seafood? Yeah I knew you remembered.

I grabbed my phone, and as I went to un-knot the plastic bag, I noticed some movement from the crab legs. Was there really movement? Or was I imagining it? I un-knotted the bag, and put it back on the counter, crab top-side up. Legs. Moving. I called my mother
"Mom, the crab is alive" I said, giggling.
She said "What bag?" My giggling was interfering.
"No mom, the CRAB. The Crab is alive! it's moving it's crab legs."
"And this upsets you?" she asked. I wished, for a moment that I could muster up some sympathy for the crab.
"No," I said, "I wanted to flour it and cook it and eat it. What do I do?"
"Oh!" Now my mom was giggling too, "Do you have a sautee pan with a lid?"
"Yep!" Of course I do! My awesome mom gave it to me!
"Just put it in there with some butter or oil and put the lid on. It will take a few minutes, but it will be fine." I love you mom! Always with the helpful instructions!

So I opened a beer, looked into the bag, and into her eyes (yes the crab was a She. I've been crabby lately, I saw a lot reflected back at me) took some glamour shots-

notice the bubbles in her mouth (pincer?) region?

I think she was a little pissed. Foaming at the mouth if you will- melted some butter in a sauce pan, popped her in, and put on the lid. After a few minutes, I checked her out, salted and peppered her, and flipped her in the pan.

All told I cooked the crab for about 10 minutes. Probably longer than I would normally, but hello? That b**ch was ALIVE to start with. When the crab was done cooking, I plated a large serving of rice. The beautiful thing about a softshell crab is the flavor that it adds to basics. The rice and broccoli were a nice accompaniment, and while I had a moment where I wanted a glass of white wine, I took a bite of the crab, a sip of my Penant Pale Ale, and was in heaven.

I won.

thanks Mom!

PS- never fear, dear readers- the flour-salt-pepper mixture didn't go to waste, I used it for a small fillet of monkfish I had also purchased at the market. Lunch tomorrow!

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