So, as I mentioned yesterday, I bought soft shell crabs. The gentleman that sold them to me was very sweet and explained how to clean them properly. Once I got home, and re-stocked my refrigerator with all my new little purchases, I decided to just double check his instructions. I consulted Connie’s guide on how to clean soft shell crabs at ouichefcook before diving into my endeavor. She also has some great tips of cooking, so I followed her instructions on that also.
I never thought of myself as squeamish, until yesterday. Those little buggers didn’t move a single floppy appendage when the man at the stand explained how to clean them, but the minute I put them on my demi-sheet they were wiggling around everywhere. I couldn’t bear the feel of them wiggling under my fingers, so I copped out and used tongs and a pair of kitchen shears to make the appropriate cuts. Even after I cut major sections of their bodies away, they continued to wiggle. I felt like a villain leaving them wiggling around in a dish until I got around to cooking them for dinner at 7, so I fried them almost immediately. Even though it was 10:00am, I just had to finish cooking the soft shell crabs before I lost my nerve. Plus, I knew I’d be obsessing about it all day if I didn’t cook them immediately.
I lightly coated both soft shell crabs in a dusting of flour, salt, and pepper. Then in a shallow pan with about a cup of Canola oil, I fried them for 3 1/2 minutes per side until they were red and golden brown.
These were, hands down, the best soft shell crabs I have ever eaten. Maybe because I had to go through all of the effort of cleaning them to eat it, but they were so good! If I knew better, I’d be embarrassed to admit that I ate both of them in a single sitting. I ate them with just a bit of salad and strawberries.
However, (BIG however) after cleaning these crabs, I was still not feeling great about it. There is something about personally being responsible for these little live creatures while you rip off their face and rip out their gills so you can devour them with a bit of lemon. I felt a bit villainous cutting into their bodies while they were clearly alive. I don’t know how much better I would feel if I were to kill them first… but I just didn’t like the feeling that I was torturing something, even if it is just shellfish. Regardless, it was a good culinary experience. It made me really consider what I do consume and the way we consume live things for sustenance.