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Crab Bisque
The best-tasting crabmeat comes from crabs you cook yourself. If you have access to live crabs, use them to make this bisque. Two 2-lb. Dungeness crabs or eight to ten hard-shelled blue crabs will yield about 1 lb. of crabmeat. You can also buy cooked crabs and extract the meat. Fresh lump crabmeat is the next-best option, especially if you are short on time; look for it at fish markets. Otherwise, use frozen or canned crabmeat, drained and quickly rinsed.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. canola or grapeseed oil
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • 5 cups fish or chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper,
      to taste
  • 3⁄4 to 1 lb. fresh or thawed frozen lump
      crabmeat, picked over for shell fragments
      (3 to 4 cups)
  • 1⁄2 cup dry sherry, dry Marsala or Madeira
  • Minced fresh tarragon or flat-leaf parsley
      for garnish

Directions:

In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and cream, and season with kosher salt and white pepper. Bring to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the crabmeat. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sherry and heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Ladle the soup into warmed shallow bowls and garnish with tarragon. Serve immediately.
Serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Christmas, by Carolyn Miller (Simon & Schuster, 2003).