Fried Soft Shell Crabs on Maryland’s Eastern Shore!

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This weekend, we had a mini family beach vacation. My aunt, Bec, and I took the train down to DC and joined up with my Dad and Mark, who drove us to my other aunt’s house in Ocean Pines, Maryland (close to Ocean City, MD).

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We spent Saturday hanging out on the beach and of course, we had some great meals! I haven’t been to the beach in ages and it was wonderful hanging out with my family. The perfect little vacation!

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Drinks at the local Yacht Club

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As with many Fisher family get togethers, there was an abundance of good food and time spent in the kitchen catching up.  Before embarking on our trip, my dad made some amazing scrambled eggs with truffle oil and chives picked straight from their garden.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Scrambled Eggs with Chives and Truffle Oil

Next up for dinner our first night, we had an improvised meal of grilled veggies, roasted eggplant with tomato, mozzarella and basil, and lettuce wraps with shrimp salad! Three bottles of wine later (2 of which were from my Dad and Mark’s Italian honeymoon) and I was ready for bed, full and satisfied.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Caprese Salad and Vegetable Kebabs

And Saturday night, we had a veritable feast including seared tuna steaks, and gnocchi (more on that in a few days). But the real star of the meal was (appropriately) pan-fried soft shell crabs, the perfect Eastern Shore dish!

And I should note these were my second soft shell crabs of the weekend… I had a great soft shell crab BLT at a quaint restaurant in Easton Maryland on our drive up.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Fried Soft Shell Crab Sandwich

But anyway, I was super excited to work with soft shell crabs. Despite growing up in Maryland I’ve only had crabs (the shellfish…) a handful of times in my life and I much prefer soft shell crabs to hard shell ones (too much work for not a lot of meat). (I also didn’t realize that soft shell crabs have recently shed or molted their shells (hence the name)… I thought soft shell crabs were a different breed of crabs, but in reality, any crabs could be soft shell if caught at the perfect time… Silly Kati).

Also did you know? Maryland recently pushed to have the soft shell crab the state’s official sandwich… but apparently soft shells kind of freak a lot of people out! (I love them though!).

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Fried Soft Shell Crabs

We got these blue soft shell crabs at a great little seafood market! The guy there cleaned them for us and even gave me a little lesson on how! I loved it and he was super nice for teaching me.  (Here’s a great article I found if you don’t make friends with your local seafood guy though. You basically cut off the eyes and lungs, remove the gills and snip off their back “apron”).

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Fried Soft Shell Crabs

To prepare these crabs, I dredged them in some flour seasoned with salt, pepper and Old Bay.

 These crabs were the largest category of crabs called Whalers!

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Fried Soft Shell Crabs

We pan-fried them in some oil and butter, about 4 minutes on each side until they were golden brown.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Fried Soft Shell Crabs

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Fried Soft Shell Crabs

Serve with a little tartar sauce (ours was a mixture of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and Old Bay) and some lemon and dig in!

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Fried Soft Shell Crabs

They were amazing! I like pulling their crispy little legs off one at a time and dipping in sauce…. and their bodies were so meaty! Fabulous.

Now back to New York a little sunburned and not ready to face the work week…. but relaxed and content after a perfect weekend away! 

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