October 08, 2010

Pan-fried Soft Crabs

4 soft crabs, cleaned
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon Old Bay
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the milk and Old Bay in a medium bowl. Soak the crabs in the milk for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, salt and pepper together. Dredge both sides of the crab in the seasoned flour. Melt more butter than you'd think in a skillet. Fry the crabs for about 3 minutes on each side. Try and keep the legs from tucking under the body of the crab; arrange them straight out. Serve naked or in a sandwich.

My thoughts:
Soft crabs are in season again. If I had to name a favorite food, I think it would be soft crabs. When I posted the how to clean soft crabs last spring, I received a few requests on how to prepare them. Honestly, I've never made them any way but pan-fried and in a sandwich. For this recipe, I splashed out and added Old Bay but honestly I mostly just season them with salt and pepper. You don't want anything to cover up the crab flavor but in Baltimore, Old Bay is always a welcome addition. Anything fancier just seems wrong to me!

Note: It is traditional to soak the crab in milk before cooking, it sort of tenderizes the shells (if they are a bit tough) and allows you to coat the crab in flour without needing egg. I added the Old Bay for a bit of kick without being overpowering.