I grew up in Salem, Ma, and I remember when the lobster molted–and the meat was very easy to get at, and was very sweet and salty. All you New Englanders, this would probably taste great with lobster meat. Let me know, as it is scarce down here.
Now that I live in the South, it is the crab that molts. The blue crab abandons its shell in May, and starts to form a new one, making its sweet delicious meat and shell completely edible. The shell remains soft for only a few hours after the crab has molted, making timing just about everything for the folks who catch them.They can be frozen, but be very sure to be gentle with them while defrosting, and drain completely to get dry. Frying and water do not mix, so the drying thing is essential. This is a very easy recipe.
Set up a “fry station”. Put your seasoned flour on a plate (station 1). Next will be your egg mixture (station 2). Third will be the batter station. I use a Fry Daddy (available for under $20), and fill it with oil until the line, but any good fry pan can be used. Be generous with the oil, and do not crowd the crabs. I toss a tiny bit of flour in to test to see if it is hot enough. It will sizzle. Again, keep water away from the oil.
6 soft shell crabs Seasoned flour-(at least a cup)
Season flour with paprika, salt cayenne pepper
Egg mixture (2 eggs and about 1/2 cup milk) Cracker meal
Vegetable oil (don’t skimp on this, no matter which pan you use, and don’t crowd crabs while frying–yes, I am repeating myself! This is a common mistake when people fry.)
Heat oil to 375 degrees, or the aforementioned toss a bit of flour in to see if it “cooks”. Don’t cook crabs if oil is not hot, as they get oily and greasy. Fry 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve with a nice white wine and lemons to squeeze over the crabs. Yummy. Picture to follow–they are dinner tonight!