Food & Drink

Coast Cooking: Mmm! Soft-shell crab po-boy

By JULIAN BRUNT

Special to the Sun Herald

Shoft-shell crab po-boy.
Shoft-shell crab po-boy.

As per Monday’s blog post, the po-boy most likely derived from a street car strike in New Orleans, but Mississippi has taken this great French bread delivery system and done some special things with it.

Monday, we sang the praises of po-boys loaded with fried shrimp and fully dressed. Today we turn our attention to a deep-fried soft shell crab po-boy.

Many people throughout the nation have never even heard of a soft-shell crab, not to mention having had the pleasure of eating one. A soft-shell crab po-boy is commonly paired with a Barq’s root beer in a glass bottle of course.

When in season, you can buy soft-shell crabs at any locally fish seller. The season runs April through November, or thereabouts. But remember that nature can be capricious. Your best bet it to ask your fish seller to clean them for you. You'll save a lot of mess. Sometimes you can find them frozen, but I do not recommend that. Some things just do not freeze well. As with any seafood, it is critical that they are not overcooked. Also, please use locally baked, crusty French bread, not that limp white stuff with no crust.

Here's how to fry them:

6-8  soft-shelled crabs, cleaned 

3 large beaten eggs

1/4 cup milk

2-3 good pinches salt

1 cup flour

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning

Oil for deep frying

Combine the egg and milk in a large bowl, season aggressively, then add the panko to another bowl. Dip the crabs in the wet mixture, shake off excess, then into the panko. Again shake off the excess. Please remember: never fill your pot more than half way full of oil. Heat the oil to well below smoking, drop the crabs in one or two at a time, and fry only until well-browned. Two to three minutes tops. Drain and load the po-boy and serve at once.

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