By Merilyn Jackson

Went to Mud City, Tom’s River Asked to have my softshells sauteed crisp. Was told that couldn’t be done!

No wonder there were only four patrons there on a balmy Thursday evening at 7:30! We overheard them saying the better cook was not on that night. Guess the locals know when to go.

They charged $24.95 for two mini-softshells cooked soggy with jarred garlic and something that did not resemble butter. My method is different from deep frying in that the crabs are not breaded and the sauteeing in a mix of butter and olive oil leaves the crabmeat sweet and moist. I left the cook my recipe for:

Foolproof Method of Sauteeing Crispy Softshells: Clean and dry crabs, dip in clarified butter, then in seasoned flour, shake off. Smash quantity (depends on how many crabs you are working with) of garlic & parsley. Saute crabs in clarified butter and olive oil abt 2 mins on each side. Toss in garlic and parsley. Remove crabs. Place sauce ON PLATE with crispy crabs on top so sauce DOES NOT decrisp them!