Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crab Bisque

Crab Meat and Evaporated Milk
Featured ingredients:  Refrigerated Canned Crab Meat; Evaporated Milk. 
This dynamic duo, with the help of some other additions, yielded a smooth, creamy, fine dining quality bisque. Not too thin or too thick with a mild flavor of the sea and subtle notes of sherry and tomato.  I only used 2 canned ingredients.  But this recipe calls for stock and tomato paste, which also come in cans.  I didn't used the canned kind in this recipe so they are not featured, but could be easily substituted.

Preparing this bisque reminded me of culinary school.  It's the first place I used Fish Stock.  That scent coupled with Mirepoix and Herbs shot me back to Mod 1.  If you are not familiar with Mirepoix, it a French Term meaning mixed finely diced vegetables and is a flavor base for sauces, stews, soups. developed with a ratio of 50% onion/25% carrot/25% celery.  

The vegetables and herbs simmer with the stock for 20 to 30 minutes and the liquid used for the soup strained.  You are going to run what's left after 30 minutes through a strainer and discard the vegetables, herbs and only use the liquid and the aromas and flavors they leave behind.

1 cup crabmeat
1 carrot diced
1 small onion diced
1 celery diced
3 small cloves garlic
2 scallions chopped
2 ripe tomatoes diced
2 tbsps olive oil
salt & pepper to taste and as needed
3 tbsp sherry (I used a good quality one I bought at a liquor store).
2 cups Fish Stock or Seafood Stock (I used Kitchen Basic's Brand)

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp tomato paste
1 cup 2% Evaporated Milk
Dash Paprika or Cayenne if you like it spicier
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a sautoir (there's culinary school again)...round skillet with high sides on medium low heat. Sautee carrot, onion, celery, garlic green onion and tomatoes.  As you know carrots, celery and onions can vary in size.  For best results try to stay true to the 50/25/25 portion rules as mentioned above.  You just want to "sweat" the vegetables until tender, (soften them without getting any carmelized brown color). Stir in sherry and season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat for about 3 minutes. Add  stock and bring to a rolling boil.  You can also add the parsley stems to the mixture (another tip I learned from Culinary School). Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for at least 20 minutes.

In a sauce pan melt 2tbsp butter and whisk in 2 tbsp flour to make a roux.  Stir over low heat until it is a pale blond color, a couple of minutes.

Strain soup through a colander into the saucepan with the roux. Whisk liquid to incorporate roux and start to thicken bisque.  Add tomato paste, evaporated milk, and paprika.  Simmer about 5 minutes stirring soup frequently until mixture begins to thicken.  Add crab and cook until heated through.  Add parsley.

Yields 4 servings.

Crab Bisque

I served this with a salad of red leaf lettuce, arugula, cherry tomatoes and Roasted Red Pepper dressing.

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