The blue crab in the back hasn’t molted yet, but the one in the foreground has, making it a soft-shell crab (Photo by
Kathy Dixon, Virginia Farm Bureau).
With soft-shells, you don’t have to pick out the meat, because every part of the crab is edible.
Crabs are part of
’s booming seafood industry, which generates more than $500 million annually, according to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. VIMS also reports that Virginia ’s watermen harvest 50 commercial species from 620,000 acres of water each year. Virginia
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Americans consume 15.8 pounds of fish and shellfish per person each year.
Today just happens to be National Crabmeat Day, so what better way to commemorate the occasion than by enjoying some
Fresh soft-shells are available from late spring through early fall in
, but they’re available frozen year-round. You can find a list of retailers at http://www.virginiaseafood.org/. Virginia
Soft-Shell Crab Stack
8 soft-shell crabs, cleaned
3 tablespoons butter
4 English muffins, split, toasted and buttered
8 slices cooked ham, ⅛" to ¼" thick
8 slices ripe tomato
Prick legs and claws of each crab with the tines of a fork to prevent popping. Sauté crabs in 3 tablespoons butter about 4 minutes on each side over moderate heat. Cover to keep warm.
Place toasted English muffin halves on a plate. Top each with ham, then tomato and a cooked crab. Spoon about 3 tablespoons hollandaise sauce over each. Serve immediately.
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup butter, melted to bubbling, but now browned
Place egg yolks, lemon juice and seasonings in a blender. At medium speed, very slowly add melted butter. Blend an additional 10 to 12 seconds until sauce is thickened and smooth.
Virginia Marine Products Board