"Soft Shell Crab, Al Crostino" by Jenn Larsen, on Flickr
It’s time for another edition of the DC Omnivore 100, where we explore the top one hundred foods every good omnivore should try at least once in their lives…
“Blue Crab Molting Season.” Could there be a sweeter phrase to the foodie ears of our region? Really, it’s one of the best parts of living near the Chesapeake Bay. And for those of us who can’t be bothered with the hacking and slashing to get to the meat out of the crab while in its hard shell, it’s especially sweet.
It seems every restaurant currently has a soft shell crab special on the menu, and that’s no coincedence. From roughly May through June, our local blue crabs are casting aside their old shells, like giggling girls getting beach-ready. It takes about four days for their new shells to harden, so before they become bitter and jaded (ok, I know I’m milking a bad metaphor, I just can’t resist, it’s like a disease) snap them up.
A perfect soft shell crab dish has that signature play with texture – the crisp shell giving way to succulent crabmeat with a little burst of the sea. But I know this particular texture is not initially to everyone’s liking. My gateway dish was soft shell crab roll, often called “Spider” roll. Continue reading →
There are a myriad ways to prepare squid – fried, grilled, stuffed, with the tentacles or not (no tentacles? wimp!). Squid ink makes a glorious rich pasta and salty sauce that can stain your tongue black as night. Raw squid as sushi can be disconcerting or refreshing, depending on your palate. My personal preference is sauteed or grilled. Perfectly prepared squid should not be overly chewy – it should have an initial ever-so-slight firmness that dissolves into a fresh from the sea taste.
When I was a poor little match girl just out of drama school, I discovered I could get squid quite cheap and saute up a batch for both me and my cat (wow. that is a depressing memory!). But now if I cook calamari, it’s for a luxurious seafood pasta with squid, shrimp, and scallops.
After the break, a more appetizing picture, and tips for rustling up calamari at home and eating out… Continue reading →