For better or for worse, I often throw caution to the wind when it comes to food consumption. Potentially-sickening-yet-delicious-looking street food in Bombay? I'll try. Expired milk? No problem if it passes the sniff test. Cookie I just dropped on the floor? Of course.
Which is why when I ordered takeout recently from Thai Spice, I saw little reason not to get my favorite dish just because soft-shell crabs aren't technically in season.
The pause followed by "hold on...let me check" from the person on the other end of the line at Thai Spice confirmed this fact. I was fairly certain Thai Spice had a stock of frozen crabs in its larder and could make the dish; however, I wondered if the employee/chef might try to persuade me to order something else in the spirit of delivering the best possible product.
Not that I wanted him to, for in the face of actual opposition in the form of a verbal warning, I probably would have caved.
One could read Thai Spice's willingness to use frozen rather than fresh during the off-season as a careless, greedy gesture designed to ensure continued business from soft-shell-crab freaks like myself. I like to think it's because they have justified confidence in the idea that their green curry soft-shell crab is sufficiently delicious so as to transcend traditional temporal constraints.
The dish contains two crustaceans of ample size that are breaded and pan-fried, then submerged in a terrific sauce redolent of cumin and coriander. Red pepper slivers and tender string beans add botanical texture as well as a lightness that balances the richer oily protein.
God, I want to order it again just writing that sentence.
Soft-shell crab season doesn't technically begin until late April and early May, when the crabs are at their most supple and theoretically highest quality. Until then I will "settle," probably several times, on Thai Spice's soft-shell crabs in green curry.