Dungeness Crab Bisque
- 2 Dungeness crabs, 1 to 1 1/2 lb. each, cooked
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups bottled clam juice
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbs. Cognac or other good-quality brandy
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Add the crab shells, tomatoes, wine and tarragon, if using. Sprinkle the flour over the top and stir to mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
In a bowl, combine the clam juice and water. Combine one-third of the clam juice mixture and one-third of the shell mixture in a blender. Pulse briefly to break up the shells. Place a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth over a bowl. Pour the contents of the blender through the sieve. Repeat with the remaining clam juice and shell mixtures in 2 batches. Transfer to a clean soup pot.
Place the pot over low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the cream, brandy and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Add the reserved crabmeat and heat through. Ladle into warmed bowls and garnish with the claw meat. Serve immediately.