Crabs are in season during the months of May, June, July, and August. They may be had at other times, but are then light and stringy. Soft-shell crabs are best in July and August. Like lobsters, crabs must be bought while alive, and boiled in the same way. Put them head first into hot water. After five minutes add one tablespoonful of salt, and boil for thirty minutes.
When cold remove the shells, the stomach, which is just under the head, the gills, and the intestine. Take out the meat carefully.
1 cupful of cream or milk.
1½ tablespoonfuls of butter.
1 tablespoonful of flour.
1 tablespoonful chopped parsley.
1 teaspoonful salt.
To obtain enough meat to fill nine shells, use twelve crabs. After they are boiled remove the meat with care, breaking it as little as possible.
Put into a double boiler the cream; when it is scalded add to it the flour and butter, which have been rubbed together; stir until smooth and thickened; then add the mashed yolks, the seasoning, and the crab meat. Mix well together, and taste to see if more seasoning is needed. Deviled crabs need to be highly seasoned. A little mustard may be used, if desired. Have the shells carefully washed and dried, and fill them with the mixture, rounding it well on top, and pressing it close to the edges of the shells, so that in frying none of the fat may enter. Smooth the top, and let stand until cold. Beat one egg with one tablespoonful of water, and, holding a shell over this, baste it with the egg, letting it run over the whole top, including the shell; then sprinkle with white bread crumbs. Put two at a time into a frying-basket, and immerse in very hot fat. It will take but a minute to color them. They may be browned in the oven, if preferred, in which case the egging is omitted, and a few pieces of butter are placed on top of the crumbs.
1 tablespoonful of butter. 1 tablespoonful of flour. 1 teaspoonful of salt. ½ teaspoonful of paprica, or dash of cayenne. ½ teaspoonful of lemon juice.
Yolks of 4 hard-boiled eggs.
Put into a saucepan one tablespoonful of butter, and one slice of onion chopped fine; before it becomes brown, add one tablespoonful of flour; cook, but not brown; and add slowly one cupful of milk or cream. Stir until smooth and thickened; then add the mashed yolks, the seasoning, the crab meat, and the chopped mushrooms. This mixture should not be very soft. Fill the shells with it, and finish the same as deviled crabs.
Wash the crabs carefully; lift up the flap, and remove the sand-bag (stomach), gills, and intestine; dry them well, and dredge with salt and pepper. Roll in flour, and saute them in butter. Have a generous amount of butter in the frying-pan, and saute them on both sides; when done place them on a hot dish. To the butter in the frying-pan add a little lemon juice.
Strain this over the crabs, and sprinkle them with parsley chopped very fine.
Soft-shell crabs may also be fried, in which case they are first dipped in milk, then covered with fine bread-crumbs, and immersed in hot fat.
They may also be broiled over a slow fire, and when done covered with maitre d'hotel sauce. The preferable way of cooking them is by the method first given.
After they are carefully washed and dried, dip them in milk, then roll them in flour, and fry them for one minute in hot fat.
1 cupful of boiled crab meat (6 crabs).
2 tablespoonfuls grated Parmesan cheese.
2 tablespoonfuls white wine. 1 tablespoonful of butter.
1 tablespoonful of flour. ½ cupful stock. ½ cupful cream or milk. ½ teaspoonful salt. ¼ teaspoonful pepper. Dash of cayenne.
Put into a saucepan one tablespoonful of butter; when melted add the flour; cook, but not brown; add slowly the stock, and stir until perfectly smooth; then add the cream, and when thickened, add the salt and pepper, then the crab meat and the cheese; simmer for a few minutes, and add the wine; spread this mixture over pieces of buttered toast cut in squares or circles; sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, and place on each piece a small bit of butter; set in the oven for three minutes; serve very hot on a napkin garnished with pavsley. This dish may be prepared in a chafing-dish, in which case the mixture must be placed on the toast and served directly from the chafing-dish.
Boiled halibut may be substituted for the crab meat.
½ dozen crabs.
1 quart milk.
Yolks of 4 eggs boiled hard.
2 tablespoonfuls butter.
1 tablespoonful flour.
1 dessert spoonful mustard.
½ teaspoonful salt,
¼ teaspoonful red pepper.
Mash the hard-boiled yolks fine, and rub into them the butter, flour and mustard.
Put the milk into a double boiler; when it is scalded stir in the mixture of egg, etc.; season, and just before serving stir in the crab meat, and add one cupful of sherry. Place in bottom of a deep dish a few thin slices of lemon and turn the stew over them.