Start by cutting off the mouth and eyes of the crab using a knife or kitchen shears. I used kitchen shears because I could cut using my non-dominant hand while the other wielded a camera but a knife works just as well. There is some goo behind the eyes. Use the tip of your knife or closed shears to scoop it out. Don’t worry about the crabs moving around, the cold makes them pretty dopey and once you do this step, they are dead. Keep the rest of the crabs refrigerated while you work on each one.
Flip the crab over. Lift one side of the shell. It isn’t attached on the ends so it will open easily. Those squishy pale things are the gills. Use your fingers to pull them out or your shears to cut them out. Repeat for the other side. You’re done!
This is just to show you how the shell is attached to the crab. There are some organs in the the middle section but they will be thoroughly cooked when you cook the crab and are safe to eat. If you really want to remove them for some reason, you will have to cut the bottom of the shell. I don’t bother. I think it makes some of the juices run out and I like a juicy crab.
Try this method of cooking them up!
If I had a favorite food I think it would be soft shell crabs. It seems like they are increasingly difficult to find so when I do, I snap them right up. When I was a child my mom would buy at least a dozen soft shell crabs at a time. She’d prepare them, we eat a couple of soft shell crab sandwiches and then she’d freeze the remaining ones in bundles of two and every week for the rest of the summer we’d defrost a pack and have another sandwich. In my opinion, that is the best way to eat soft shell crabs: dredged in flour with a little salt and pepper and pan-fried in butter. On white bread. Nothing else that might possibly distract from the crab’s flavor. I do have to say that I had a soft crab sandwich that had a cornmeal crust that was pretty good. The crab was huge though, I haven’t found a crab that big at the market yet, and that helped the crab flavor stay strong.