She-Crab Soup Recipe
Local legend traces the origin of Charleston's iconic she-crab soup to a presidential dinner served at the home of Mayor Rhett in the early 1900s. Requested to create a special dish for the occasion, Rhett's genius butler conjured up a rich sherry-infused alchemy of freshly harvested crabmeat and cream. He then stirred in the coral-colored roe of the female crabs, which added a pale hue and umami depth of flavor that was way ahead of its time. In recent years, ecological efforts to preserve the supply of crabs banned the harvesting of roe from egg-bearing female crabs who carry the roe outside their shells. Only female crabs with the roe on the inside may be used. In Charleston Receipts, the spiral-bound classic published by the Junior League in 1950, Mrs. Henry Church suggests crumbling the yolks of hard-cooked eggs in the bottom of the soup plate as a substitute.
Recipe Revival: Southern Classics Reinvented for Modern Cooks (2016; Time Inc. Books)