If you have shells and just a little leftover crab from a cracked-crab feast, this delicious bisque is a great choice. The only trick to cooking it is slow and low.
- 12 ounces cooked cleaned Dungeness crab shells, reserved
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 qt. crab-poaching liquid, reserved from making Cracked Crab with Butter and Citrus, or a mix of 1 1/4 cups each bottled clam juice and water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 medium)
- 1 cup finely chopped celery (5 or 6 stalks)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups whipping cream, plus 2 tbsp. for topping
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 16 oz. shelled cooked Dungeness crab
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs, such as chives, tarragon, or parsley; or a mix
- Put crab shells, bay leaves, and crab-poaching liquid in a medium pot. Bring to a simmer, covered, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until broth has a gentle but distinctive crab flavor, about 1 hour. Strain broth through a fine-mesh strainer. If using crab-poaching liquid, return to pot and boil, uncovered, until reduced to 2 cups, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
- In another medium pot, heat oil over low heat. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook, covered, stirring often, until very soft and translucent but not browned, about 15 minutes.
- Add wine and tomato paste to vegetables and cook over medium heat, uncovered, until wine has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups cream and the crab broth and simmer over low heat 15 minutes, uncovered, to meld flavors and thicken a bit.
- Put six small, shallow soup bowls in a 200° oven to warm. Whip remaining 2 tbsp. cream into soft peaks.
- Strain soup through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl and stir in butter and salt. Ladle about 2/3 cup into each soup bowl. Top with a mound of crab, if using, a small spoonful of whipped cream, and a sprinkle of herbs.