Ask your fishmonger to clean soft-shell crabs for you. Crabs should be cooked no more than six hours after they are cleaned.
Whisk flour, salt, and pepper; place on a dinner plate. Dredge 2 soft-shell crabs in flour mixture, shaking off excess (make sure crabs are completely coated).
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium sautÃ© pan over medium-high heat. The oil should be very hot but not smoking. Place flour-coated crabs, back side down, in sautÃ© pan; reduce heat to medium if pan starts to smoke. SautÃ© crabs until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes (do not stand too close to pan; crabs tend to spatter during cooking). Turn crabs over, and cook 2 minutes more.
Add 1 tablespoon butter and a large pinch of parsley to skillet. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over crabs. Keep warm in a low oven. Repeat process until all the crabs are cooked.