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Guest Suzanne F

So do you think the might be one of the true American foods, found only here (meaning STILL only found here, not originating here but transplanted and available elsewhere)? Not very many of those, are there?

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Cooking tips welcome. Especially ways to fry them with a really crispy coating.

Depends on the size and quality, but I'd be really worried about $2.50. I imagine $8.90 at Eataly means their wholesale is around half that, which makes sense. 

You can eat them for a while after they've been cleaned but they rapidly become less nice.

We had some (out) the other night at the Vietnamese restaurant on Doyers Street: batter was heavier than tempura-type but very tasty, crabs were small and sweet, deep-frying was greaseless. Dipping sauce was salt-and-white-pepper mixed with what? a little rice vinegar?

I've had that dipping sauce in a Cambodian restaurant, for fried prawns; the salt and pepper were mixed with lime juice...great!

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I've had soft shell crabs in Asian restaurants in the UK, not too rare to see them on menus but I think they are probably frozen. No idea where they are sourced from. Definitely not as good as the best ones I've had in America.

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Wilf. Snip off their faces horizontaly. This about 1/8 inch behind the eyes; snip right a cross. Almost as if you were beheading them.

 

Next lift the sex organ flap up. On the belly, narrow on males, wide on females. this is just ripped off.

 

Next lift the extreme tip of end of the back of each 'shell. There will be some triangular shaped translicent spongy mass. They peel back easily and are attached to the bottom part of the crab. Simply rip each one off.

 

Voila! Crabs are clean and ready to cook.

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Ideally, they should be alive when you purchase them unless the fishmonger has just cleaned them for you.

 

Just dip them in egg wash and seasoned flour and saute in butter until golden on both sides. David Rosengarten weighs them down with a pan on top of them while they are cooking to flatten them a bit and to squeeze out any excess moisture, but I don't think it's necessary.

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I was lucky enough to buy a few live ones last week during a family visit in SC. They were from an oyster/ crab "farm" and had been picked at the peak of perfection..transferred to a separate tank when they were about to molt.

 

Lippy's post of 6/2005 describes the process well.

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