Soft Shells (crab and clam)
I was inspired this week by a food blog I saw (that I of course can't find again to link to it) that mentioned Whole Foods in Fresh Pond having Soft Shell Crabs. Having hatched this plan in my seedy little brain, I stopped by the store after giving my tutoring student his Italian Final at CSCA.
The soft shell crabs were already prepared (faces removed, apron removed, etc) so it would be easy to whip these up for dinner last night. I knew I was going to turn them into some sort of Po Boy application and as I looked around for an oyster or two to add to the mix I noticed some gorgeous, tiny steamers. There was dinner sorted.
Since I was already in the neighborhood I also went by the Iggy's bread store in the bowels of an industrial park off Fresh Pond circle and picked up some Brioche rolls for husband and a few of the French Rolls for my Po Boy. I was so good. In the door, purchase intended items and OUT! The temptation in the place is soooooooo bad. I also noticed off in the corner they have a fridge dedicated for CSA pick ups from The Farm School. I'm going to check with them and see if they have any openings left. I missed the boat for both Land's Sake as well as the one in Waltham this year. Every year I say I am going to do it and every year it manages to pass me by. I think the lure of strolling around a farmer's market to pick my stuff generally beats the take what is available and make it work option.
To make those lovely, crunchy soft shell crabs you see above I made a beer batter of 1/2 a bottle of whatever was up in the fridge mixed with 1/2 a cup of flour and 1/2 a cup of cornstarch with a bit of baking powder, salt, pepper and Frank's Red Hot mixed in. It's an amazing batter that is based on a beer batter we used often in school from Chef Tony lawless who now runs the gorgeous Pilgrim's Inn in Deer Isle ME. I salt and peppered the outside, dipped them in the batter and they hit the pan of oil for 2 minutes on each side. Served on an Iggy's French roll with watercress, tomato, sliced red onion and a home made tartar sauce of dill and sweet relishes, pickle juice, capers, paprika and a few other things.
Crunchy with a squirt of ocean inside each bite. Husband was squeamishly watching me eat them still disbelieving that I eat the whole thing shell and all. He wouldn't even press the shell when I tried to show him how soft they were earlier before I cooked them. He just squished his face up and said, "Ugh...I don't fancy that".
Ha! more crab for me pal.