Crab Bisque with Parmesan Crostini

Did i mention we are coming into crab season?  Oh yes.  Well here’s another way to work that into the menu for Thanksgiving or any upcoming night of entertaining.  This this isn’t the kind of soup you make on a weekday night for family from whatever is leftover in the fridge. It’s a luxurious soup.  It’s rich and delicious with a velvety texture and a definite sherry flavor.  And it’s really not difficult to make.  

As I was coming up with this recipe I had to decide whether to go the route of making my own fish stock by sauteing shrimp and crab shells with vegetables and herbs or go the route of a store bought stock.  I admit I went the route of a good quality store bought fish stock that was sold in the freezer section of my local Whole Foods, purely for convenience and sake of time.  Clam juice would do as well.  Or chicken stock if you can’t find any of the above.  Since the star of the dish is the crab I made sure I used the best quality fresh lump meat I could find.  Fresh picked is great, too!  Don’t skimp on the half and half or cream on this one.  It’s not a low fat soup and just wouldn’t be the same.  And I highly recommend the Tabasco at the end.  It needs something to cut through the richness and give it a tangy kick.


Soup

  1. Heat 8 quart heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat and add in 1 Tablespoon of the unsalted butter and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.  When hot add in the leeks, shallot, and celery, and bay leaf and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Saute until starting to caramelize, about 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile in a separate small pan over medium heat add 2 Tablespoons of butter and as it melts add the 2 Tablespoons of flour.  Whisk constantly to get a smooth consistency for about 3-4 minutes until the roux turns a golden brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Deglaze the pan by adding in the white wine and as that absorbs add in the roux, tomato paste, paprika and cayenne, sherry and then 4 cups stock.  Bring to a soft boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cook for about 30 minutes and occasionally skim the fat from the top.
  4. Add in the white rice and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes.  The soup should be thick.   Discard the bay leaf and carefully puree in a blender or food processor.  Return to the pan and add in the half and half or heavy cream and half the fresh crab, reserving the rest for garnish.  Stirring gently to fold in the crab.  Now is the time to taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper or more sherry if desired.

Parmesan Crostini

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter and in the olive oil. 
  2. Brush each slice of bread with the mixture and season with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Bake until just starting to brown around the edges, not too long because you will put them back under the broiler.  About 7-8 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and top each slice with a little grated Parmesan and a tiny drizzle of olive oil.  Change oven to broil and place the slices under the broiler for approximately 30 seconds.  Remove and serve immediately.

Assembly

  1. Warm the soup bowl for an extra touch. Ladle about a cup into each bowl.  This is a rich soup so you don’t need much.  Top with a slice of Crostini, the reserved fresh crab, a sprinkle of chopped chives, and a few generous dashes of Tabasco. 
Soup
10 ounces fresh lump crab meat

1 leek, white and light green part only, washed and chopped

2 shallot bulbs, peeled and roughly chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

 1 bay leaf

1/3 cup dry white wine

3 teaspoons paste

½ teaspoon sweet Paprika

Pinch Cayenne           

½ cup dry Sherry

4 cups Fish stock

3 Tablespoons white rice (short grain)

3/4 cup half and half or heavy cream

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoons all purpose flour

Salt and pepper

Tabasco & chives for garnish 

Parmesan Crostini

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus drizzle

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

8 slices French baguette

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Salt & pepper

Serves 4-6 (starter portions)

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