BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For many here in Maryland, at this time of the year, there’s nothing better than a soft shell crab. The demand for this delicacy is higher than ever right now.

Ron Matz reports Baltimore is right in the middle of its annual soft shell celebration.

It’s crab season, and what’s better than a delicious soft shell? Regi’s in Federal Hill is one of the restaurants taking part in Baltimore’s soft shell celebration.

“The soft shell celebration has been phenomenal,” said Alan Morstein, owner of Regi’s American Bistro. “Downtown Baltimore has done a great job promoting it. They’ve gotten the word out. It’s really been tremendous for us and it continues through Sunday.”

Chef Mark Dunaway says the demand is high.

“We can never get enough soft shells. There’s always a big demand. The love of crab cakes is great, but a soft crab is a delicacy that you need to treasure,” Chef Dunaway said.

At Regi’s American Bistro, those treasures are now moving up the lower Chesapeake Bay, and that’s good news for soft shell lovers.

“They’re finally coming from the Chesapeake Bay, and when they come from Maryland, they’re just sweet and plump. They’re full of mustard and heavy. The skin is very gentle. People are freaking out over them. They’re amazing,” Morstein said.

It only takes about five minutes to cook one up, and if you love soft shells there’s nothing better.

“We use Old Bay and flour in our recipe. There’s brown sugar in the Old Bay, which brings a sweetness to it. It also brings the crispiness out so you get a crunch,” Dunaway said.

“The soft shell is a delicacy. They come in different sizes. We’re using what we call whales at Regi’s; they’re the largest soft shells during the full moon. They shed their shell and that’s when the pickin’ is right,” Morstein said.

It’s a sweet start to Maryland’s summer.

“It’s a real big deal. It’s a treasure of the Chesapeake. The land of pleasant living. Springtime in Baltimore. The soft shells are coming out, Oriole baseball, tomatoes, corn—you can’t beat it,” Morstein said.

Baltimore’s fifth annual soft shell celebration continues through Sunday. For a list of participating restaurants, click here.

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