Crab soup that’s luxuriously creamy indulgence incarnate. Here’s how to make it.
This show-stopping crab soup is a restaurant-quality bisque of sorts that’s smooth as velvet and fairly brimming with fresh crab. It’s also certain to impress, so we strongly suggest you prepare yourself for a flood of compliments.–Angie Zoobkoff
Crab Soup Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 4 H
- Serves 4 to 6
- For the crab stock
- 2 blue or spider crab shells, including legs and body (about 400 g), crab picked and reserved
- 2 white fish skeletons, such as tilapia or flounder (about 30 g)
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 5 ounces or 140 g)
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped (about 4 ounces or 115 g)
- 1 small bunch of thyme (about 15 g)
- A few parsley stalks (optional)
- 1 or 2 garlic cloves, bashed (4 to 8 g)
- 8 1/2 cups cold water (2 l)
- For the crab soup
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (15 ml)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 ounce or 28 g)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped (about 5 ounces or 140 g)
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped (about 4 ounces or 115 g)
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced (about 3 ounces or 85 g)
- 2 celery stalks, chopped (about 3 ounces or 85 g)
- 2 garlic cloves, grated (about 8 g)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 good-size tarragon sprig
- 1 teaspoon paprika (2 g)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (2 g)
- 1 smallish star anise
- 1/3 cup dry white wine (80 ml)
- 9 ounces fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped, or canned chopped tomatoes (about 4 medium plum tomatoes or 250 g)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup heavy cream (80 ml), plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup Calvados or apple brandy (60 ml)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cooked crab meat or cracked crab claw, for garnish (optional)
- Make the crab stock
- 1. Using a meat mallet, or the side of a rolling pin, bash the crab shells to break them up into pieces. Set a large saucepan over medium-high heat and toss in the shells along with all the other stock ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook gently, uncovered, for 1 hour, using a ladle to skim any froth that rises to the surface. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- 2. Pass the stock through a fine strainer and discard the solids. You should end up with about 5 cups (1.2 l) or so of crab stock.
- Make the crab soup
- 3. In a heavy bottomed saucepan set over medium heat, warm the oil and butter. When it’s bubbling away, add the onion, fennel, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and tarragon. Cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables are just beginning to soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the paprika, fennel seeds, and star anise and cook for 1 minute more. Then add the wine and chopped tomatoes, stir well to combine, and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Add 5 cups (1.2 l) crab stock, bring to a gentle simmer, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes.
- 4. Carefully transfer the soup to a blender and purée the soup, working in batches if necessary, until smooth. (You could use a hand blender if you prefer but just make sure you get a smooth consistency.)
- 5. Pass the soup through a strainer set over a clean saucepan. You may need to push it through with the back of a spoon or ladle. Return the soup to the heat and bring to a very gentle simmer. Stir in the cream and the Calvados and then season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- 6. Serve the soup in warmed bowls. You can finish it with a swirl of cream if you like, some cracked black pepper, and a little dressed crab meat—or, as shown here, a cracked crab claw.
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Crab Soup Recipe © 2017 Gill Meller. Photo © 2017 Andrew Montgomery. All rights reserved.
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