Soft shelled crabs
Clean crabs, sprinkle with salt and pepper, dip in crumbs, egg, and crumbs, fry in deep fat, and drain. Being light they will rise to top of fat, and should be turned while frying. Soft-shell crabs are usually fried.
To Clean a Crab. Lift and fold back the tapering points which are found on each side of the back shell, and remove spongy substance that lies under them. Turn crab on its back, and with a pointed knife remove the small piece at lower part of shell, which terminates in a point; this is called the apron.
Source: Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, 1896
Bread crumbs, grated
Dry toast, crusts cut off
Boil the crabs.
Extract the meat from the shells.
Cut it fine, and season it to taste with nutmeg, salt, and cayenne pepper.
Add a bit of butter, some grated bread crumbs, and sufficient vinegar to moisten it.
Fill the back-shells of the crab with the mixture; set it before the fire, and brown it by holding a red-hot shovel or a salamander a little above it.
Cover a large dish with small slices of dry toast with the crust cut off.
Lay on each slice a shell filled with the crab.
The shell of one crab will contain the meat of two.
Source: Directions for Cookery, 1851
6 fat crabs
butter, 1 tablespoon or butter & lard mixed
flour, 1 spoonful
Take six nice fat crabs, wash them, and while alive chop off the claws; then clean the rest of the crabs carefully and lay them in a dish.
Chop up two onions fine, fry them in a tablespoonful of butter, or butter and lard mixed; when brown and soft stir in a large spoonful of flour, which must also brown nicely; throw in some chopped parsley and a little green onion, and when they are cooked pour on a quart of boiling water—this is the gravy.
Now put in the crabs without parboiling.
Let them simmer in the gravy for half an hour, and serve with boiled rice.
Parboiling crabs destroys their flavor; they should be alive to the last moment.
Source: La Cuisine Creole, 1885
1 cup chopped crab meat
1/4 cup mushrooms finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2/3 cup White Stock
Yolks 2 eggs
2 tablespoons sherry wine
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
Make a sauce of butter, flour, and stock
add egg yolks, seasonings (except parsley), crab meat, and mushrooms.
Cook for three minutes, add parsley, and cool mixture.
Wash and trim crab shells, fill rounding with mixture, sprinkle with stale bread crumbs mixed with a small quantity of melted butter.
Crease on top with a case knife, having three lines parallel with each other across shell and three short lines branching from outside parallel lines.Source: Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, 1896
Take the meat out of the shells
Make a dressing that contains : sweet oil, cayenne pepper, salt, mustard and vinegar.
Optional: add some hard-boiled egg yolk, mashed in the oil.
Put the mixture into the back-shells of the crabs, and serve.
Garnish with the small claws laid nicely round.Source: Directions for Cookery, 1851