Blue crabs are the only crab commercially sold as soft shell crab. This is the time between the shedding of their old shell and the hardening of their new one.
Soft shell crab are sold in 5 basic sizes; whales, jumbos, primes, hotels and mediums. Mediums are 1-2 ounces, hotels are 2-3 ounces, primes are 3-4 ounces, jumbos are 4-5 ounces and whales are over 5 ounces. Soft shell crab should only be sold live, or frozen. If the crab is fresh and not alive smell it. If stored properly it can last for a couple days. Stay away from soft shell crab that have any smell other than the sea, especially if they smell like ammonia.
To clean the crab, use a kitchen a scissors. Put the crab in the freezer for a couple minutes. Cut the face off the crab. On the bottom pull on the pointed lever and cut the flap off. Bend the crab open and scrape out the lungs and the green tamale. The best way to cook soft-shell crab is to sauté or deep fry.
Rinse the cleaned soft-shell crab and pat them dry.
Heat about ¼ inch of cooking oil in a skillet to medium high heat. You want it hot enough that a drop of water will sizzle but not hot enough for the oil to smoke. Lightly coat the crab with seasoned flour and fry for about 4 minutes on each side until crispy.
The pan used for deep frying should be deep enough to hold 2 to 3 inches of hot fat. A 4 to 6 inch deep pan is good because it helps to control spattering. If possible a conventional deep fryer works best. The best oils to use are peanut oil, corn oil and canola oil in that order. Put enough oil in the pan to make sure the clams can float, usually 2 to 3 inches.
1. Heat the oil to 360 degrees. A deep frying thermometer is the best way to regulate heat. If you don’t have a thermometer, wet you finger with water and flick it at the hot oil. If the oil is hot enough it will sizzle when the water hits the oil. You don’t need much water, just a small drop. Do not let the oil get too hot. If it starts to smoke it is too hot.
2. Prepare the batter or breading for the crab.
3. Bread or batter the crab and lower them gently into the hot fat. If you are using a conventional deep fryer have the basket in the oil before you add the crab. Do not put the crab in the basket and then submerge or the crab will get stuck on the basket and you will lose some of the breading. Do not crowd the crab. It is better to fry the crab in batches. If you put to many pieces in the hot fat at one time it will lower the temperature of the oil and cause the crab to be greasy.
4. Deep fry the crab until golden brown, usually about 4 minutes, depending on the thickness.
5. When the crab are done drain them. Placing them on a rack above a cookie sheet works great but if you don’t have that paper towels on a plate will work.
Combine; ½ cup of flour
½ teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
½ cup beer
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Combine; 2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
Beat the eggs and milk together lightly.
Dip the clams in the egg mixture then in dry bread crumbs or cracker
If you are looking for information on fish with fins check out this site. tocookafish.com There is information on over 80 types of fish sold in the United States and methods for preparing