By this point in the year those of us living in the Lowcountry have had our fill of oysters (well, maybe not everyone) so the inclusion of a new item on many local restaurant menus in April is cause for some celebration. During what I would call a short lived period there is a delicacy that is coveted by many coastal dwellers. Actually we are simply taking advantage of a reoccurring phenomena found in nature. That is, the period of time when crabs have molted their old exoskeleton and are still soft...Soft Shell Crab. Just this past week I noted that Plums and Saltus in Beaufort and Pour Richards in Bluffton have shouted out they are serving the softies. The Town of Port Royal actually takes the celebration to the old village streets every year (this year, April 23), brings the music (featured this year are the Headliners) and food frolic for it's 8th Annual Soft Shell Crab Festival. Believe it or not I've never prepared soft shell crab at home, I've done many a preparation with the hard shell version, but never ventured here. I went for the cookbook authored by the woman who introduced me to my first soft shell crab entree...Elizabeth Terry. Specifically the cookbook authored by Elizabeth and Alexis Terry in 1996 called Savannah Seasons. I believe Elizabeth Terry retired from her restaurant Elizabeth's on 37th the year the book was published, but I suspect the next generation of cuisine at the locale includes soft shell as a seasonal item.
Tips for dressing(cleaning and preparing)soft shell crab: http://www.ehow.com/video_2339408_clean-soft-shell-crab.html