Soft shell crab sandwiches

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Roy
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2006/06/15 23:35:32 (permalink)

Soft shell crab sandwiches

Today I had my sixth soft shell crab sandwich of this season here in shoreline Connecticut. Deep fried version, served on toast with lemon and tartar sauce on the side along with the inevitable french fries and cole slaw. I love these things and have been eating them for 55 years since they were introduced to me when I was 5.
I always pull the claws off and eat them first them slather the body with tartar sauce and eat it between the bread like a sandwich with all the green oozings dripping down my hands. Delicious!!
The only thing better is getting a double but that's getting expensive around here now days. Hard to find under $20. for two.
Where else but southern Ct can you get these seasonal beauties? I never see them up at Cape Cod except in a fancy dancy sauteed dish....good but not the real deal!
#1

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    caratzas
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 00:21:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Roy

    Where else but southern Ct can you get these seasonal beauties?

    I always see them at the beach in Delaware and Maryland. Never had one in Connecticut -- do they come with anything on the sandwich besides the crab?

    The DelMarVa ones typically come on a roll, and you can get lettuce and tomato if you ask.
    #2
    Roy
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 09:00:25 (permalink)
    They usually come plain with just the two slices of toast although if ordered in a sit-down restaurant, lettuce and tomato are sometimes served. I've never seen anybody actually eat the l&t though.
    #3
    Pigiron
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 10:13:52 (permalink)
    One of my favorite sandwiches of all time. Unfortuantely, the only place I can seem to get them is in a fancy restaurant. I've taken to making my own fried soft-shells with a cornmeal crust on fresh ciabatta with a simple homemade spicy mayo. My local fishmonger trims them up nice to make for an easy quick meal.
    #4
    BernieG
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 10:47:40 (permalink)
    Originally posted by Roy

    Today I had my sixth soft shell crab sandwich of this season here in shoreline Connecticut. Deep fried version, served on toast with lemon and tartar sauce on the side along with the inevitable french fries and cole slaw. I love these things and have been eating them for 55 years since they were introduced to me when I was 5.

    Roy- do tell where you've been finding these. Sounds great!
    #5
    BarbaraCt
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 11:10:23 (permalink)
    Yeah! I want to know too.
    #6
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 11:56:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Roy

    Today I had my sixth soft shell crab sandwich of this season here in shoreline Connecticut. Deep fried version, served on toast with lemon and tartar sauce on the side along with the inevitable french fries and cole slaw. I love these things and have been eating them for 55 years since they were introduced to me when I was 5.
    I always pull the claws off and eat them first them slather the body with tartar sauce and eat it between the bread like a sandwich with all the green oozings dripping down my hands. Delicious!!
    The only thing better is getting a double but that's getting expensive around here now days. Hard to find under $20. for two.
    Where else but southern Ct can you get these seasonal beauties? I never see them up at Cape Cod except in a fancy dancy sauteed dish....good but not the real deal!

    I grew up eating those softshell crab sandwiches along the shore from Milford to Savin Rock. Do they still serve them eyes and all? I used to have to turn my $1.50 crab sandwich around and eat them from the back to avoid having the eyes staring at me. YUM!!!
    #7
    roadrash
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 13:30:44 (permalink)
    mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm!!!! I loves me some softshells. But...they've got to be cleaned. That means cutting off the eyes, getting up under the shell and pulling out the gills and guts and all that stuff. I wouldn't eat a softy that hadn't been cleaned, quite honestly.

    I love them fried, but when you get them and they've been sauteed properly in butter, well that is truly gustatory nirvana.
    #8
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 13:40:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by roadrash

    mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm!!!! I loves me some softshells. But...they've got to be cleaned. That means cutting off the eyes, getting up under the shell and pulling out the gills and guts and all that stuff. I wouldn't eat a softy that hadn't been cleaned, quite honestly.



    Actually, you don't have to cut off the eyes and clean the crabs. They never did it in the shoreline restaurants in Connecticut when I lived and ate there.
    #9
    Roy
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 14:08:06 (permalink)
    The eyes have it! I never heard of the crabs being cleaned and considering what comes oozing out when bitten, I doubt if they ever are. They should be alive I imagine when being tossed in the deep fryer to be considered fresh. The frozen ones are nowhere near as good. Watch out for the places that have them year round.
    The best (and biggest) one I have had this year was at Lenny's Indian Head in Branford. Pretty good ones at Lenny and Joe's in Madison and also at a new place in Westbrook, Ray's Seafood on Route 1 where Marty's used to be. When they have them, the Chowder Pot restaurants in Branford and Hartford are generally very good too. The smallest specimen was at the Captains Galley in West Haven. One of the toast slices there was the heel of the loaf of bread. Can't recommend that place.
    #10
    Phishmonger
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 14:37:48 (permalink)
    When I owned the fish market, I always cleaned the ss crabs. Cut off the eye section and scrape out the gills, and cut off the apron on the females. Dusted with a little flour mixed with some Old Bay and sauteed in butter. Damn! I gotta go down and get me a few. ($4.95 each today and good sized)
    #11
    Petunia62249
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 14:42:46 (permalink)
    MY MOM USED TO EAT SOFTSHELL CRABS! IN FACT IT WAS DOWN AT SAVIN ROCK!I CAN REMEMBER AS IF WAS YESTERDAY, SITTING IN THE CAR AND TAKING A BITE OF THE TOAST WITH THE CRAB! MOM LOVED THEM SO MUCH, THIS WAS HER TREAT!

    I'D NEED TO BE BLINDFOLDED TO EAT THEM, NOW... IT WAS A EXCELLENT MEMORY!

    PETUNIA62249
    #12
    BernieG
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 15:03:46 (permalink)
    Thanks Roy. Jeez, I've been to Lenny and Joe's a bunch of times and never noticed.. usually get the whole belly clam platter but I'll certainly give this a try in the near future.
    #13
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 15:07:24 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Roy

    The eyes have it! I never heard of the crabs being cleaned and considering what comes oozing out when bitten, I doubt if they ever are. They should be alive I imagine when being tossed in the deep fryer to be considered fresh. The frozen ones are nowhere near as good. Watch out for the places that have them year round.
    The best (and biggest) one I have had this year was at Lenny's Indian Head in Branford. Pretty good ones at Lenny and Joe's in Madison and also at a new place in Westbrook, Ray's Seafood on Route 1 where Marty's used to be. When they have them, the Chowder Pot restaurants in Branford and Hartford are generally very good too. The smallest specimen was at the Captains Galley in West Haven. One of the toast slices there was the heel of the loaf of bread. Can't recommend that place.


    I remember when the Captain's Galley was owned by an old friend named Billy Calamita. It was a fine place then. Of course, before it was the Captain's Galley it was Stowes, and that was a fine restaurant for many years. The place I used to get them most often years ago was Raffaelli's. It was right on the water at Savin Rock.
    #14
    Roy
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 18:14:45 (permalink)
    Wow, Michael Hoffman....Raffaelli's was where I first learned to eat them around 50 to 55 years ago. That was a great place in my memory, right on the water. They don't make them like that around here anymore.
    I didn't know Stowes was where the Captains Galley is. I recall it was further east over by Bilco Door for a long time. Now they have the little place in the garage a few blocks west. They do the soft shells also and based on last year, are probably cheaper than anywhere else but I haven't been there lately....too cold and wet to eat outside.
    #15
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 19:11:17 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Roy

    Wow, Michael Hoffman....Raffaelli's was where I first learned to eat them around 50 to 55 years ago. That was a great place in my memory, right on the water. They don't make them like that around here anymore.
    I didn't know Stowes was where the Captains Galley is. I recall it was further east over by Bilco Door for a long time. Now they have the little place in the garage a few blocks west. They do the soft shells also and based on last year, are probably cheaper than anywhere else but I haven't been there lately....too cold and wet to eat outside.

    You're right about Stowes being not far from Bilco (a company owned by the guy who married my across-the-street neighbor's daughter). But that's where the Captain's Galley was when I was last there. I gather, from what you said, that the Captain's Galley moved.

    Do you remember the stacks of fried softshells right at the order window in the front of Rafaelli's -- all of them with their eyes facing the customers?
    #16
    Roy
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 22:40:02 (permalink)
    Always ate in the dining room at Rafaelli's. I'm not familiar with the order window. I hate to say it but you must be older than me.
    It would be really neat if someone could post a photo of the old place.
    #17
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/16 22:54:08 (permalink)
    Well,sometimes I'd eat out on their patio right over the water. But, you're very likely right about me being older than you. Heck, I'm older than West Rock. I dug the cave the three judges hid out in.

    By the way, Rafaelli's had terrific lasagna, too.
    #18
    lleechef
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/17 00:44:31 (permalink)
    During the soft shell season I served them every night in various ways at the Black Cow in Hamilton, MA. One Saturday night I had TWO left, not enough for a Sunday special. There were four of us on the line and I suggested that we eat them. My saute cook turned up his nose...."They taste like cardboard." Oh really? So I cleaned them and fixed them and all four of us stood around oohing and aaahing, devouring them.

    Before Katrina hit New Orleans we went to Mother's on Poydras St. We had been there many times before. So this Elvis-looking guy at the door says to me, "Whatcha gonna order?" I said, "Maybe the oyster po 'boy or the John G with Debris." He whispers in my ear, "Get the soft shell crab po'boy." So I did. I think it was the best sandwich I have ever eaten. Two HUGE soft shells with lettuce, tomato, sauce, on New Orleans French bread. Perfection!
    #19
    MandalayVA
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/23 20:29:28 (permalink)
    I was in Costco last week and they had boxes of frozen soft shell crabs. Since crab is one of the few seafoods I eat, I was mightily tempted. Has anyone had these?
    #20
    shortchef
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/23 21:57:51 (permalink)
    Nothin' better than a softshell crab sandwich. We have a Costco near us. I hope they have them there, I'll buy a couple of boxes. I dip them in self-rising flour, fry them quickly in butter & light olive oil, serve them on plain white bread with a little mayo and a squeeze of lemon juice. One of the finer things on this beautiful planet...
    #21
    Roy
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2006/06/29 23:48:11 (permalink)
    Just had my seventh crab sandwich of the year at Lenny & Joes in Madison, Ct. Awesomely large definitely worth the $12 and included coleslaw. For two bucks more you get a few insipid french fries....not worth it...they really should try harder in that department. Rounded out the visit with some bargain priced promotional sportswear...hats, shirts. This stuff is a deal!!!
    #22
    finfin
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2007/08/03 12:24:10 (permalink)
    Yes these things are great! I have only had them when I was in Florida. In Key west I had one at Crabby Dick's. Sharky's on The Pier in Venice Florida, made one for me... they have just the crabs on the "Starters" menu.
    #23
    TerpsSkinsFan
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2008/01/11 15:16:27 (permalink)
    Quite often, people who eat soft shelled crabs don't even realize they've been cleaned. Here in Maryland, as a general rule most cut the face off and scrape the lungs from under the shell prior to cooking. Dusted with self rising flour, seasoned with a little Old Bay, sauteed in butter and served on white bread is the way to go! It's also a good idea to prick the claws/legs with a fork prior to frying as they tend to pop/snap as they cook.
    As for lettuce and tomato? Absolutely... As long as we're talking a good, fresh from the garden summer tomato!
    #24
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2008/01/11 15:33:04 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Roy

    Today I had my sixth soft shell crab sandwich of this season here in shoreline Connecticut. Deep fried version, served on toast with lemon and tartar sauce on the side along with the inevitable french fries and cole slaw. I love these things and have been eating them for 55 years since they were introduced to me when I was 5.
    I always pull the claws off and eat them first them slather the body with tartar sauce and eat it between the bread like a sandwich with all the green oozings dripping down my hands. Delicious!!
    The only thing better is getting a double but that's getting expensive around here now days. Hard to find under $20. for two.
    Where else but southern Ct can you get these seasonal beauties? I never see them up at Cape Cod except in a fancy dancy sauteed dish....good but not the real deal!


    Basically, they are served anywhere there are blue crabs. That means anywhere along the coastline from Brownsville Texas to the end of Maine (and maybe into Canada). I know that I have had them in LA, both coasts of FL, Charleston, Baltimore, NY and Mass.

    Related question: How long will they last in a deep freeze?
    #25
    Earl of Sandwich
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2008/01/12 06:37:44 (permalink)
    I had my first soft shell crab po boy at a roadside place ( sorry, don't remember the name of the place) on Rt 11 north side of Slidell, LA. Excellent sandwich.
    #26
    jellybear
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2008/01/18 09:28:57 (permalink)
    Softshell Crabs from Costco?You have got to be kidding me!And Yes!Clean those things.
    #27
    JakerDog
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2008/01/24 09:44:08 (permalink)
    I haven't had one in years but I used to get a GREAT Soft Shell Sand. at a place called Zelby's in Belmar, New Jersey. It was a local place with the freshest seafood in town. My Dad and I would order a gallon of steamers and a two Soft shells to go. It was a light batter, fried and served with lemon, tarter or cocktail sauce. Really simple but very good. They had a separate fryer for crabs and fries. The fun part was Zelby's was across the street from a very touristy place where tourists to the NJ shore, would get dressed up, sit in the heat and wait for a table to pay three times the price for what my friends and family were eating sitting next to our bikes on the boardwalk. It was GREAT!

    Thanks for a great memory and a smile for my Dad!
    #28
    gabbie
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    RE: Soft shell crab sandwiches 2008/01/24 13:22:15 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by jellybear

    Softshell Crabs from Costco?You have got to be kidding me!And Yes!Clean those things.


    Haha...I doubt they've got them out here, unfortunately, but yeah, I clean pretty much everything I get from costco... :)
    #29
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