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Eat This Tonight: Soft shell crab and fresh veggies

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Oyster season’s over, but there’s no cause to fret. Soft shell crab season is right on its heels.

There’s nothing ordinary about the soft shell crabs at The Ordinary this season. Each night for as long as the crabs are available, the chefs will prepare the single crab entrée ($17) in a different way. This weekend they could be lightly pan-fried or sautéed, served with fresh local vegetables like baby carrots, cabbage, asparagus, baby turnips, or snap peas. Sauces could include creamy polenta ranch, light lemon butter, or anything else Chef Lata comes up with. With something new every night, you can expect the unexpected.

Chef and owner Kevin Johnson at The Grocery just got in some fresh soft shells from Kimberly’s Crabs in Mt. Pleasant. Order a single soft shell as an entrée or indulge and order the trio for the table. In the entrée ($19) the jumbo soft shell is pan sautéed and served with roasted new potatoes and wood roasted local asparagus topped with a creamy Greek yogurt and herb vinaigrette. With the trio ($49), you can have a little bit of everything since the crabs are prepared Old School, Old South, and Old World. The Old School crab is sautéed in a simple and delicate lemon butter sauce, the Old South is dusted in cornmeal, deep fried, and served with coleslaw and a remoulade sauce, and the Old World is roasted in the wood-burning oven and served over a shaved asparagus salad.

SNOB is bringing in crabs from both Johns Island and Mt. Pleasant. The chefs are frying a single local soft shell and pairing it with seasonal vegetables from Ambrose drizzled with a peppadew aioli ($21).

In North Charleston, Marvin’s Seafood is serving up a fried soft shell crab sandwich ($4.99). The crabs are deep fried in a dry batter and then put between two pieces of bread for a simple yet seamless meal. If you are feeling really ravenous, add sides for 99 cents.

Hickory smoked fried soft shell crabs at the Glass Onion
  • Hickory smoked fried soft shell crabs at the Glass Onion

Chef Chris Stewart over at The Glass Onion is trying something new with his Johns Island soft shells. After the live crabs come in they are cleaned and prepped to be cold smoked with hickory. Stewart then breads the crabs with panko breadcrumbs and deep fries them to crispy perfection. In true Southern style, the single crab entrée ($18) is served with grits and the local vegetable of the day. Last night they were served with butter beans, but this weekend they will be served with fresh Ambrose asparagus in béarnaise and a garden salad. “I love this dish because you get the sweetness of the crab and the sweetness of the hickory. It’s bacon meets crab,” says Chef Stewart.

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