A coastal restaurant staple, rich and elegant She-Crab Soup can be easily made at home.
She-Crab Soup is commonly found on menus in coastal Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. The origin is disputed, but wherever it came from, it is much-appreciated here in the South.
The first time I ever had this soup was in Savannah, Georgia, when visiting friends. We were downtown exploring when we found a restaurant right on the river. They were known for their She-Crab Soup so I had to try it. The creamy, bisque-like texture and tasty bits of crab was dreamy and delicious.
The name She-Crab Soup implies that all the meat in the soup is from female crabs; however, that is not necessarily the case, at least not in my recipe. You can find many variations of this recipe, but in many original versions the crabs carrying roe (eggs) were used, which were obviously females. The roe is said to add more flavor so that less salt is needed.
For my recipe, I did not use only females carrying eggs — instead, I purchased already-picked crab meat and I incorporated salt into the soup. Feel free to purchase female crabs from your local fish market to incorporate crab roe. However, to me, roe is a bit too fishy, and I don’t want the extra work of cleaning crabs.
By the way, do you know how to tell if a blue crab is male or female? The females will have red tips on their claws, as if they had their nails painted red. You can also flip the crabs over and look at their apron (belly) — females will have a larger rounded apron indention while the males have a long, pointy apron indention.
This is a very elegant and delicate recipe. You can serve it as a main course or as an appetizer. Either way, it’s a great way to make your guests feel special.
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Photography by James Stefiuk