Go ahead, be a softie this spring. Bite into claw-inspiring dishes of the shell-shedded blue crab from morning till night
- Last Updated: 1:45 AM, May 20, 2012
- Posted: 8:10 PM, May 12, 2012
Iit’s soft-shell crab season on the East Coast — but don’t you dare ask for a tiny fork. New Yorkers know teeth are the only tool appropriate for such indulgences.
Soft-shells are blue crabs in transition. They’ve shed their old shell (too small) and the new one won’t start hardening for a couple of hours. Translation: total crab excellence with zero work. What else can you literally eat from head to, uh, toe with no waste and no effort?
“It’s almost a guilty pleasure because it’s so easy,” says Tangled Vine chef John Conlin III, referring to both the eating and the preparing.
Experts predict this will be the biggest
soft-shell season ever, due to its extended length, better production methods and transportation, and growing popularity among diners.
“The number of restaurants asking for soft-shells is up about 30 percent this year,” says Sean
Cunningham, sales representative for Pierless Fish Corp., a supplier to some of the city’s top kitchens. And the quality of crabs has improved, too, says Pierless purchasing manager Dan Scofield. “Producers are more organized and prepared for shipping.”
With all this soft-shell goodness, it’s no wonder chefs are preparing such elaborate dishes all over town.
Lucky for us, we can start clawing our way through them starting with breakfast, right up through happy hour and dinner. No bib required.