Soft-Shell Crab Season In Full Swing: Where to Find the Best Crispy Critters In Miami
In Florida, soft-shelled crabs can be harvested through almost November, until the water drops below 50 degrees. The famous Chesapeake Bay blue crab can only be found with soft-shell through September at the latest. The crab can be harvested at a length between three and a half and five inches, measured on the back from point to point, with five being considered jumbo blue crab.
"With the soft shell crab, it is important you cook it for just the right amount of time," says Joe's executive chef Andre Bienvenu. "Otherwise, the texture of the molten shell can be difficult to eat."
At Joe's, the preparation of the dish ($24.95) was described by the chef as "classic traditional" and having a "comfort food" flavor. Stone soft-shell crab is cleaned and battered in a mixture of Japanese bread crumbs and a dash of corn starch before being fried and served on a bed of seafood gumbo and basmati rice. Soft-shell crab is almost always battered and fried, but too much or too little time in the oil can make the molten shell either too chewy or too tough to bite into.
Captain's Tavern owner Bill Bowers uses his vast network of suppliers to get soft-shell crab most of the spring and summer. Here, they season and clean the crab before applying flour and quick-frying it in a deep pan.The appetizer ($10) is served over a cilantro and carrot salad, while the main course ($20) comes with salad and your choice of rice, baked potato or french fries.
A number of restaurants feature soft-shell crab all year long in their sushi rolls and some as a main course. If it isn't spring or summer, chances are that crab was frozen at some point. No matter where you enjoy soft-shell crab this season, hurry and up and get there before its too late to enjoy it fresh.
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