Food - Drink
A Guide to Eating Soft-Shell Crabs
Many cooks and eaters find soft-shell crabs to be a bit intimidating when compared to more common hard-shelled varieties. Soft-shell crabs are actually the same species as hard-shells; soft-shells are cooked while in the middle of a process called molting, which takes place right before their shells begin to harden.
Soft-shell crab season typically lasts from early March to late September; a good rule is to get your fix before Labor Day. When it's time to chow down on some soft-shells, you may wonder how to tackle them, and Sandy Ingber, executive chef at Grand Central Oyster Bar, tells us that "the whole soft shell is edible—and delicious."
Ingber prepares crabs a variety of ways: sautéed, fried, or even grilled. "Personally, I love them marinated with extra-virgin olive oil, lots of assorted fresh herbs and garlic," the chef says, "then grill them for about two to three minutes on each side. No sauce necessary." And just to reiterate, you can eat the entire crab, shell and all.