Soft-shell crabs are a delicacy only available for a few months, usually from April through the summer, harvested in more southern waters. On restaurant menus you’ll often see soft-shells deep-fried, but they need nothing more than a quick saute to really shine. Carl Fantasia of New Deal Fish Market in Cambridge says that after the crabs are caught, they are kept in large tanks and checked every four hours. As soon as they show signs of molting, or discarding their hard shells, they are harvested and shipped out, as the shells begin to harden again in hours. Look for fresh crabs that are still kicking, and ask the fishmonger to clean them for you. New Deal has primes (medium size) for $4.99 a piece, whales (largest grade) for $6.99. Captain Marden’s Seafoods in Wellesley is selling jumbos (large) for $6.95 a piece. Call ahead for availability.
|2||chipotle chilies in
adobo sauce, chopped
|Juice of 2 limes|
1. In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, chipotle, and lime juice.
2. Taste for seasoning and add more chipotle, if you like.
|4||cleaned soft-shell crabs|
|1½||teaspoons Old Bay
|4||hamburger buns or sandwich rolls|
|1||avocado, pitted and sliced|
|1||large tomato, cored and sliced|
1. Season the crabs with the Old Bay.
2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil. Add the crabs, rounded sides down, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and cook 5 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, cut open the buns or rolls and toast them. Spread mayonnaise on both sides of the rolls. Add a soft-shell to each, and top with avocado and tomato.