The Secret to Restaurant-Quality Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab – Seaco Online
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The Secret to Restaurant-Quality Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab

If you're a seafood lover, you've probably heard of the deep-fried soft shell crab recipe. This dish is a popular one in many seafood restaurants and is loved for its crispy texture and delicious taste. Soft shell crabs are crabs that have recently molted their hard shell, and the entire crab can be eaten, including the shell.

Soft shell crabs being dipped in batter, then lowered into sizzling hot oil, turning golden brown. Lemon wedges and herbs nearby

Preparing your soft shell crabs for cooking is essential to ensure that they turn out perfectly crispy and delicious. You will need to clean the crabs first by removing the gills and other unwanted parts. After cleaning, you can dredge the crabs in flour and spices before deep-frying them until golden brown.

Key Takeaways

  • Soft shell crabs are crabs that have recently molted their hard shell and can be eaten whole.
  • Preparing the crabs by cleaning and dredging them in flour and spices is crucial to achieving a crispy texture.
  • Deep-fried soft shell crabs can be served with a variety of dipping sauces and make for a delicious seafood dish.

Preparing Your Soft Shell Crabs

When it comes to deep-frying soft shell crabs, preparation is key to achieving a delicious and crispy result. In this section, we'll cover the two essential steps in preparing your soft shell crabs: cleaning and preparation, and creating the perfect batter.

Cleaning and Preparation

Before you start cooking your soft shell crabs, you need to clean and prepare them properly. Here's how:

  1. Thaw your soft shell crabs if they're frozen.
  2. Remove the gills, eyes, and apron from each crab. You can use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to do this.
  3. Rinse the crabs under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.
  4. Season the crabs with salt and pepper or your favourite spices. You can also marinate them in a mixture of milk, eggs, and mustard to add flavour.

Creating the Perfect Batter

The batter is what gives your soft shell crabs that crispy texture and delicious flavour. Here's how to create the perfect batter:

  1. In a bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together milk and eggs.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stirring until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Dip each crab into the batter, making sure it's fully coated.
  5. Roll the crabs in breading ingredients, such as breadcrumbs or panko, to add extra crunch.
  6. Deep fry the crabs in hot oil until golden brown.

Cooking and Serving

A chef fries soft shell crab in hot oil, then carefully places it on a white plate, garnishing with lemon wedges and fresh herbs

Frying to Perfection

To achieve the perfect deep-fried soft shell crab, you need to ensure that the oil is hot enough before frying. Heat the oil for frying to 375°F. When the oil is hot enough, carefully place the crabs in the fryer. Fry the crabs until they are golden brown, which should take about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Draining and Plating

Once the crabs are fried to perfection, it's time to remove them from the hot oil. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully lift the crabs out of the fryer and place them on a wire rack or paper towels to drain any excess oil.

When plating, it's important to arrange the crabs in an attractive manner. You can serve them whole or cut them in half for easier eating.

Sauces and Sides

Deep-fried soft shell crab is delicious on its own, but it's even better when served with a tasty sauce and some sides. Tartar sauce is a classic accompaniment, but you can also try serving the crabs with a spicy aioli or a sweet and tangy coleslaw.

For a more indulgent dish, try serving the crabs with melted butter and a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning. This will give the crabs a rich and buttery flavour that complements their crispy texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

A golden-brown soft shell crab sizzling in hot oil, surrounded by bubbling bubbles and emitting a savory aroma

What's the secret to a crispy soft shell crab batter?

The key to a crispy soft shell crab batter is to use a combination of cornmeal and flour. This will give the batter a nice crunch while also allowing the crab to maintain its natural flavour. It's also important to make sure that the oil is hot enough before frying the crab, as this will help the batter to crisp up quickly.

How do you properly clean a soft shell crab before cooking?

Before cooking, it's important to clean the soft shell crab properly. Start by removing the gills and the apron (the flap on the underside of the crab). Then, rinse the crab under cold running water to remove any sand or debris. Finally, pat the crab dry with paper towels before cooking.

Can you suggest a good dipping sauce for deep-fried soft shell crab?

A classic dipping sauce for deep-fried soft shell crab is a simple mixture of mayonnaise and lemon juice. You can also try dipping the crab in a spicy remoulade sauce or a sweet and tangy mango salsa.

What are some tips for cooking soft shell crab from frozen?

If you're cooking soft shell crab from frozen, you need to thaw them completely before cooking. You can do this by placing the crab in the refrigerator overnight or by running them under cold water. Once thawed, follow the same cooking instructions as for fresh soft shell crab.

Why might you soak soft shell crabs in milk, and is it necessary?

Soaking soft shell crabs in milk is a common technique used to help remove any unwanted flavours and to tenderize the meat. While it's not necessary, it can help to improve the overall taste and texture of the crab.

What are the best side dishes to serve with deep-fried soft shell crab?

Deep-fried soft shell crab pairs well with a variety of side dishes, including coleslaw, potato salad, roasted vegetables, or a simple green salad. You can also serve the crab with a side of fries or crusty bread to soak up any leftover sauce.