About two weekends back I started hearing a murmur about soft shell crabs arriving in Philly. I determined to get me what was mine and made my way to Reading Terminal Market. It was not too late nor too early, about 10:00 or 11:00 AM. Most stalls were already in business but the fish market at which I usually find the best crabs was still just putting ice into cases. This is the place where the dude usually has a tray of crabs, belly up, right on the counter. Every once and a while he'll slam his fist down on the counter and the crabs' legs will start wriggling a bit. A great bit of showmanship. Or should I say crabmanship. Unfortunately on that day all there was to be seen was ice. I meandered the many aisles going to two different fish markets. And saw one place that had two crabs in its case. I asked if they had more and the woman said it wasn't the season yet. This confused me something awful. If it wasn't the season, how did they have two? How were all the best restaurants in the city and other foodies all exclaiming over soft shell crabs? It just seemed very, very unlikely. In any case, I bought the only two crabs in all of Reading Terminal Market (apparently), and wended my way home. Soaked them in milk, salt and pepper for a bit. Egged and panko breaded them. Fried them up in vegetable oil. Ate them outside with lemon, beans and tomato. And a generous dollop of mayonnaise.
This is a meal that I imagine I'll make for myself and people in my life for as long as soft shell crabs are a thing that exist to eat.