If you’re driving down the “main drag” here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia (aka Route 13), one of the best things you can do for yourself is to turn off the beaten path. All roads lead to the water eventually – seaside or bayside. It doesn’t matter. Chances are you’ll stumble on a seafood shack in your travels. And this time of year, they’re all sure to have fresh soft shell crabs. A delicacy here, as well as around the world.

My favorite spot is Martin’s Crabhouse in Saxis, VA. It’s about a 20 minute drive for me on Chincoteague, but when it comes to crabs – it’s always worth the trip. You’ll usually find two old salts sitting on the front porch of the crab shack, no doubt talking about fish tales. One of the younger guys inside will shuffle over to the peeling tables and fish out a dozen for me – wriggling as they’re pulled out of the water and placed in the box. It really doesn’t get fresher than that.

Up until last week, breading and pan-frying was my go-to prepare a soft shell crab. But, after putting them on the grill…I fear I can never go back. First off, it was easier and way less mess. Always a win! But the flavor. THE FLAVOR. Sweet, tender crab with a heady dose of smokiness from the grill. I brushed with fresh garlic herb butter while cooking, which helped them to not stick to the grill – as well as impart more wonderful flavor. A few minutes on the grill, and they plump up to pure perfection.

I wanted to pair them with pasta, so I made a quick scampi sauce using the usual suspects – butter, garlic, lemon, white wine. And, a few cherry tomatoes and basil for a little extra flair and color. Was just enough to make the pasta moist, and paired perfectly with the crab – just making it’s flavors sing a little louder.

Move over, Shrimp Scampi. There’s a new kid on the block…


  1. Ann
    Posted June 14, 2017 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

    Just found your blog. Wow I love it. Can’t wait to try your recipes especially your margaritas. Making the mix today
    Add you to my favorites for sure.

  2. Posted June 19, 2017 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    Sounds delicious! I love soft-shell crabs, but have never tried making them at home. Need to give it a try!

  3. Posted June 19, 2017 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    The things I’d do for some soft shell crab..My vote for grilled ones and I love your from scratch scampi sauce.

  4. Mary
    Posted July 3, 2017 at 4:35 AM | Permalink

    Is Martin’s a restaurant or just a market for seafood? Thanks!

    • Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

      You can’t even really call it a market, they predominately do wholesale. But, scoot on up the steps and ask for a dozen of soft shells – tell them I sent you! 😉

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