Soft-shell crabs

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Because freshly molted crustaceans have just spent much of their protein and fat reserves and are absorbing water to fill out their new shell, eaters generally disdain them. The major exceptions to this rule are the soft-shell shore crab of Venice, and the soft-shell blue crab of the U.S. Atlantic coast, which is fried and eaten whole. Animals that are about to molt are watched carefully and removed from salt water as soon as they shed their old shell, since their new cuticle would otherwise become leathery within hours and calcified hard in two or three days.