I had my first soft-shell crab of the season on Mother’s Day, courtesy of my chef-daughter Brigitte. After a hard day’s work at Miss Shirley’s, where people were lined up before the doors opened at 7:30, she cooked up amazing soft shells in her own kitchen later that day.
And what a treat it was. Brigitte stuffed the soft shells with a mini crab cake, dusted them with flour, pan fried them, and then finished them off in the oven. She also made a caprese-salad stack with heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella drizzled with balsamic and a fresh corn salad. Yum. Am I a lucky mom or what?
But ever since, I’ve been craving more soft shells. So I was glad to get chef Marcus Olson’s e-mail about Soft-Shell Restaurant Week, which starts today and runs through May 31. This is not a fixed-price event. It shines the spotlight on a local food.
Marcus, the hardworking chef at The Brass Elephant, and The Downtown Partnership are working together on this venture. Other restaurants paying homage to our soft-shell crabs include Charleston, Ixia, La Scala, Mother’s Federal Hill Grille, and Sotto Sopra.
At The Brass Elephant, you’ll find such offerings as a soft-shell crab with black bean sauce, spinach, and seaweed salad; a soft-shell-crab salad with Louisiana crawfish, and a soft-shell crab paired with an Angus flat-iron steak.
Marylanders appreciate the joys of eating the whole crab during its short molting season. But it’s always funny to get non-locals reactions. One time, I was eating a soft-shell sandwich at a restaurant, when a little girl at the next table looked over horrified and announced loudly, "That lady is eating a spider."