Eight Bells

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Crab Bisque

This is a very time intensive meal and will take around 5-6 hours from start to finish. A lot of that time is just waitng while the dish cooks and if serving for dinner at 7pm you really would want to start preparing the meal at midday. The following recipe will serve 4 as a main 6 as a starter.

2 kg of fresh crabs

Remove the legs and claws and set aside in a large bowl.
Place crabs on their backs and using a strong knife crack the shell on the abdomen.
Open up the crab and using your fingers or a small knife remove the flesh.
Discard the gills on either side of the body and the dark flesh. Keep the white flesh. Discard the crab carcasses.

In a large stock pot put the following
50g of clarified butter
1 large onion, finely diced
1 carrot, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
10 black peppercorns
3 Bay leaves
Fresh flat leafed parsley, chopped

Cook until the onion is soft turning transparent, add the crab legs and claws and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours to make stock. Top up with water if the stock reduces too quickly. Taste and when ready strain the stock through a fine sieve and discard the waste. You should aim to produce 2-2 1/2 cups of stock from this. Set aside.

To make the bisque in a large stock pot put

1 red capsicum, finely diced (seeds etc removed)
1/2 a cup of brandy
The juice of 1 lemon and the squeezed lemon halves
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 litres of fish stock (not the crab stock, that comes later)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
100g of short grain rice

Bring to the boil and simmer for around 1 1/2 hours so that the rice breaks up and the soup thickens. Stir regularly so that the mixture does not stick and burn.
After 1 1/2 hours add the crab stock and the crab meat and continue to cook for a further hour adding extra stock if too thick.
Force the mixture through a sieve and discard lemon skins, lumps of garlic etc but keep any crab meat or capsicum.
Return the strained soup to the pot and re add the crab meat and capsicum. Blend using your 'whizstick'. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper if desired. At this point the bisque can be cooled and refrigerated for later use or served.

To serve

Ladle the bisque into warm bowls and stir in a little cream and a little olive or avocado oil. Grind over fresh black pepper and sprinkle with fresh flat leafed parsley. Eat with hot baguettes and olive oil spread or butter.


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