Soft shell crabs are one my very favorite foods. I look forward to soft shell crab season every year. But alas, that season is incredibly short. I often wonder though whether I’d think them so delicious were their season not so fleeting. In theory, their season lasts several months, but the reality is that it seems far shorter, particularly for we Northeasterners.
Perhaps if I could obtain soft shell crabs all the time, they would lose their appeal and become boring. I suspect that I find them delicious enough that they’d never become dull, but who knows. The important thing is to try to eat them several times while they’re available. The first time I ever had one was at Hattie’s in Saratoga, where I asked the chef to do mine fried solely in cornmeal, rather than the standard mix of cornmeal and flour. I was hooked.
I had it recently at New World Bistro Bar done in rice flour. My companions each had the soft shell crab sandwich. All were just as we could have hoped for.
But by last week, my hankering was back and I decided there was no way I was letting the season end without another crab fix. I picked up four the other night at Two Cousins in Loudonville. They weren’t exactly cheap at $5.99 a piece, but I decided they were a special treat. Besides, a friend had never tried them. And really, I couldn’t let that be the case, could I? Also, the fish monger told me the season informally ends this week.
These were done in a buttermilk bath, then dredged in a mix of cornstarch, rice flour and Old Bay seasoning. Oh, and then they were pan-fried and served up with an Asian-style red cabbage slaw and of course, some wine. Oh and a cajun remoulade. The verdict? Brilliant. Just crispy enough and in my opinion, the alternative flours worked just fine. I’m already dreaming about next year’s season.