Last night I had two soft-shell crabs from Buster's for dinner. ($4 each large; $3 for small). Absolutely delicious.
Paige instructed me to freeze the pair for a while before snipping off the apron, removing the lungs and slicing off the eyes. Sort of defeats the purpose of buying live ones, though. Is there a better, reasonably humane way to go about this process or do you just have to accept the cruelty involved?
And what's the pale green stuff you find when you lift up certain parts of crabs? These weren't female lobsters, so undigested food? Waste?
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Very simple prep: dredged, seasoned and fried in skillet. Other suggestions? What about not frying?
I grew up near the Jersey shore and there were many ways to get the little guys to sleep before plunging the harshells into boiling water without them giving you a fight. The refrigerator can work, but by putting them in the freezer, or on ice, you are as stated above, anesthetizing them a bit. You don't want them to freeze solid, you are just trying to get them to the dormant state referenced above. 15 minutes in the freezer max should do it. 10 is more like it.
Anytime you are preparing the crab yourself, there will be some barbarism involved. Thus chilling them to comatose is preferred. The pale green material is known as "mustard" up in NJ and is really, basically, crap.
The only time I've had some second thoughts of preparing seafood was when I was running late for a dinner party and didn't have the time to chill down my lobsters before executing 4 lobsters with a chef's knife. There is a process to do it quickly, but the buggers are so primitive that they still flip around. I also remember my grandmother preparing eel when I was a kid. Live eel, even when skinned, gutted, and chopped to pieces, still twitches. I believe she did it this way as it was, in her words, "self breading."