I have to admit, when I put Will in charge of the groceries and he texted me saying he bought soft shell crabs, I was secretly delighted and equally terrified. I love soft shell crabs--every bite is a textural thrill. And the best part is that they're in season! Mermaid Inn has a great soft shell crab "special" over frisee and avocado for $14--get it while you can--and Whole Foods sells them fried for $6 a piece (which is the same price that we paid for raw crabs).
Despite my love, I was still intimidated to cook these unique sea creatures. But believe me, if I can do it, you can do it. I'll be honest, I did a lot of research and even watched some YouTube videos demonstrating how to clean them. And yes, definitely clean your crabs. In terms of preparation, it couldn't have been easier (minus the gut-wrenching task of cutting off their heads and removing their lungs--hungry yet?); simply place your cleaned crabs in milk and let them soak for a few minutes. While they're soaking, make a mixture of flour, breadcrumbs, and spices (we used a mixture of adobe seasoning, cayenne rub, salt, and pepper). Toss the crabs in the dry mixture and heat a pan with oil until the oil is almost smoking. Add the crabs into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. They're amazing and so crispy. We made our own spicy aioli with mayonnaise, lime, and cayenne pepper. Squeeze some lemon on those crispy crabs, dip in aioli, and you're all set!