If I had to choose my favorite aspect of spring I would have to choose soft shell crab season. This just seems likes one of those true gifts from nature that should be exalted!
For anyone who has missed out on the soft shell crab experience, let me take a few minutes to bring you up to speed. These are typically blue crabs that have molted their exoskeleton and are consequently “soft” enough to cook/eat whole. The season starts in the early spring down South and moves up the coast as the water warms. Of course, there happen to be ways to manipulate nature (surprise, surprise!) So, some folks manage to “farm” soft shell crabs throughout the rest of the year. While I am happy for any local fishermen to make money, I personally prefer enjoying this delicacy when nature sees fit to provide.
So, at the GO we only buy soft shells (aka softies or peelers) when we receive the call that they are available regionally. My partner Chef Chris Stewart thinks they are best when cold smoked and deep fried with panko breading, and I agree. This process a satisfying crunch on the exterior giving way to melt-in-your mouth goodness with just a touch of hickory perfume on the finish. In other words, YUM!
Look for soft shell crabs on our menu for the next few weeks. Spring has sprung!