2070 N. Clybourn Ave.    Chicago, IL. 60614                    773.404.3475

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At Dirk's
we carry many additional items to complete and complement your favorite recipe such as:
- Select Fresh   
- Fresh Breads
- Fresh Chips &
- Parchment Paper
    (by the sheet)
- Seafood Utensils
and more.....


  Soft Shell Blue Crab
  • Blue crab have to shed their shells to grow and they shed throughout the year but mostly in the warmer months. The shedding starts in Florida as early as late March, but usually April. These crab are always the larger size called jumbos and come in fresh but not often live. The month of May sees the biggest shed of spring crabs from the Chesapeake Bay area and usually coincides with the full moon. These crabs come in to us alive. After the main shed, we have a couple of weeks where soft shells are scarce. From June until September, Chesapeake Bay crabs are readily available.
  • Soft shell crabs come in 5 sizes and we usually carry "primes" which are about 2 crab per person for a serving size. These crabs need to be cleaned which we do for you when you come to pick them up. You don't want to clean your soft shells too far in advance, better eat them sooner than later.
  • Pan sauteed is the best way to cook soft shells. You can just do flour, pepper and salt or try an extra coating of crispy panko crumbs. My favorite is panko crumbed, fried, dredged in smashed avocado with a drop or two of spicy mayo. One of our good customers just brushes hers with dijon mustad and sautes them. If you like sushi, there's also nothing like a fresh soft shell crab spider roll! Grilling also works well. you don't need to bread them just brush them with a little olive oil and lemon zest.
  • I like to saute crabs in canola oil or some other high smoke point oil, avocado, peanut or walnut work well too. Olive oil and butter both burn to easily and don't give you that crispy crunch. If you do want to use buterr and/or olive oil it does work but just be careful not to burn it.



  • 2 soft shell crabs, cleaned (figure 2 per person)
  • Flour
  • Pepper
  • salt
  • cajun seasoning(optional)
  • 1 egg per two crabs, beaten
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Canola oil


  • 2 soft shell crab cleaned (figure 2 person)
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper
  • salt
  • lemon zest
  • garlic
  • cajun seasoning(optional)

  • I like to put a handful of flour in a plastic bag with a teaspoon of each of pepper, salt,(cajun season or blackening spice if you like). Another handful of panko crumbs in separate bag. Eggs in a bowl, well beaten.
  • Drop each crab in flour bag separately and shake it up, coating the crab well. Dredge the floured crab in the egg. just to get it wet. Drop the wet crab into the panko crumbs and coat well. Remove from bag and let set for 5 minutes. Repeat the process until all the crabs are coated.
  • Get a pan hot then add canola oil, just a couple of tablespoons. Gently place each crab in the pan but don't crowd or stack them. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove and place on a paper towel to drain(try not to eat the claws before you actually serve them).
  • I like an avocado mashed with a drop or two of lemon juice. Dip your crab leg by leg and claw by claw. It complements the crispy crab so well. Enjoy the season!
Dirk's Fish and Gourmet Shop © 2014