Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mr. Hawthorne Fries Soft Shell Crabs.

One of our favorite things to eat is soft shell crabs. The season only lasts a few weeks, so we have a limited time in which to partake of this delicacy. Here, Mr. Hawthorne is getting ready to cut the little bugger's face off.

Snip snip. And it's done.
Next, Mr. Hawthorne cuts off the gills.

And we don't like to eat the mustard, that yellow gunk inside. Here, Mr. Hawthorne cleans it out, although a lot of people like to eat it and I don't think most restaurants clean it out.
That's why I like to do my own soft shells.
The mustard, or tomalley, is actually the crab's hepatopancreas, a gland in the crab's digestive system. Functioning as both pancreas and liver, the hepatopancreas produces digestive enzymes and filters out impurities from the crab's blood. Chemical contaminants, like dioxins, mercury, and PCB's, if present in the water, would accumulate in the hepatopancreas. These tasteless, odorless, and colorless chemicals are potentially carcinogenic.
So, no mustard for me, thank you very much.

Mr. Hawthorne has his assembly line set up.
On far left, he has flour, salt, and pepper.
Eggs in the middle, with salt and pepper.
The third container is flour, semolina flour, Cajun seasoning, and Old Bay.

Fry about 2 minutes each side.

Mr. Hawthorne is experimenting with his remoulade sauce.
He started out with mayo, pickled relish, Cajun seasoning, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, with a hint of ketchup. This is the remoulade recipe that the chef from Coastal Provisions Market made the other day at our cooking class. I still prefer the remoulade from Lucky 12 Tavern, so I recommended he add in some celery, capers, and vinegar.

Drain the soft shells on paper towels.

And serve.
Mr. Hawthorne also whupped up some cole slaw, too - just red and green cabbage, shredded carrots, white vinegar, sugar, and mayo. Mr. H. also adds in a bit of oil. He says that makes the slaw last longer.

This was wonderful.
And I want some more.

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