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85: Soft-Shell Crab Fried Rice at Tiny Diner

A creamy, crisp seafood-centered plate does justice to in-season crabs

A creamy, crisp seafood-centered plate does justice to in-season crabs

While most of the general population believes we are currently experiencing what is known as "the most wonderful time of the year," chefs, gourmands, and crustacean-chasers understand that the truly most fabulous and fleeting period is soft-shell crab season.

In late spring and early summer, blue crabs in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast shed their shells as the weather warms, and before you know it they're popping up as specials on menus everywhere. They're used for spicy stir-frying (check out Krungthep Thai if you're a fan of that prep), incredible crab BLT sandwiches on sweet griddled milk bread (Smack Shack), and at Tiny Diner they are crisped, simply seasoned, and served with a uniquely textured, veggie-loaded rice and a perfectly fried egg.

See also: A Memphis native reviews the Memphis menu at Tiny Diner

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The fried rice isn't the fluffy or greased-up variety you normally get with Chinese takeout, but instead has a complementary creaminess that works with the elegance of the sweet crab meat, especially when the egg yolk gets involved. Scattered with cilantro and lots of scallions, this dish keeps your palate interested throughout and makes the soft-shell crab the star it should be.

Since it's not currently soft-shell crab season, Tiny Diner's staff has substituted salt cod in the dish and added garlicky bits of Chinese sausage. It will do for now, but we're still looking forward to that next most wonderful time of the year.

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