All these recipes for preparing soft shell crabs were published in the Washington Post in 1995. They are all from around the Chesapeake Bay area, which is THE place to get the best!
Serves: 4
Prep.Time; About 30 minutes, depending on preparation style

TO BROIL: Prick claws with a fork; brush crabs all over with melted butter. Broil 3 inches from heat topside down 4 minutes. Turn; brush with butter and broil 4 minutes.
TO SAUTE: Prick claws with a fork. Dust crabs all over lightly with flour. In a large skillet, melt 1/4 cup butter; over medium-high heat, saute about 4 minutes each side or until golden.
TO DEEP-FRY: Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees. Combine flour, beaten egg, salt and pepper to make a tempura-like batter. Dip crabs into batter to coat; fry in oil about 5 minutes or until golden. Keep warm until all are cooked.
TO FRY: Combine flour, salt, pepper and Old Bay Seasoning to taste; coat crabs well. Fry in a large skillet in hot shallow oil over medium heat about 4 minutes each side.
TO BAKE: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two 13x9x2 baking dishes to hold crabs in a single layer. Brush crabs with melted butter; sprinkle with salt, pepper and Old Bay Seasoning. Bake 4 minutes each side.
TO STIR-FRY: Cut crabs into quarters; sprinkle with ground ginger. Heat oil in a wok until almost smoking; stir-fry crab pieces until golden about 5-6 minutes.
TO MARINATE AND GRILL: In a small bowl, combine:
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
Dash of Tabasco Sauce
Let marinade stand at room temperature several hours to let flavors blend. Baste bottom-side of crabs with marinade; place bottom-side down over medium-slow coals for 5 minutes. Brush top-side of crabs; turn carefully and grill 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Copyright 2002 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved