by Steven Doyle
We are still in full swing soft shell crab season, and this is a good thing. Better restaurants and seafood hubs are flying in fresh, live soft shells ready for frying. Blue crabs are most common. The tender beasts shed their shells this time of year and make ready for a newer, larger shell leaving them vulnerable for my plate. Fortunately, the season can last as late as September.
If you find soft shells at one of your favorite fishmongers, and please avoid department stores which might offer a mealy previously frozen version, they should already be prepped for frying. Generally we enjoy a simple toss in seasoned flour and they are ready to be pan fried. Deep fried is acceptable but the pan version seems to carry more flavor.
We spotted this lovely pair of crabs at one of our favorite restaurants in Bishop Arts, Stock and Barrel. There chef Jon Stevens creates his art on each plate with a loving twist that always leaves us wanting more. Fortunately, the chef is giving and will always make a second round if necessary. And for soft shells, it may be necessary. But this dish is ample for a nice starter for a couple or an enjoyable dinner for one.
The dish consists of a duo of Maryland soft shells with a little gem slaw and a kumquat gastrique. Bless Stock and Barrel. Chef Stevens does a beautiful version of soft shells each season and we look forward to his new creation.
A few other favorite items on the Stock and Barrel menu includes the grilled globe artichokes, pan roasted cauliflower, and the much sought after grilled Wagyu meatloaf wrapped in house-made bacon.
If you spot a great soft shell dish in Dallas let us know in the comment section below.
Stock and Barrel is located at 316 Davis Street in Oak Cliff. Make your reservations by calling 214.888.0150 and let them know you plan on a few crab.