Tis the season for soft shell crabs. The molting season for blue crabs typically begins in late April and runs for several months. It's during this time of that blue crabs shed their hard external shell in preparation for growing. Just got an e-mail from Acacia that they have them in stock and learned a few new terms relative to the different stages of crab softshelledness:
Velvets: Pulled from the water only 30 mins after they shed
Shippers: Pulled from the water 4hrs after shed
Papers: Pulled from the water 6-8hrs after shed
Buckrams: Hard Crab
My favorite way to cook hardshells is pretty simple- dip them in beaten egg and dredge them in cornmeal or flour with some salt and pepper and pan sautee them until they get crispy. One of the sweetest treats from the sea !