Dungeness Crab Bisque
|Dungeness||2 (1 to 1 1/2 lb. each)|
|Unsalted butter||2 Tablespoon|
|Yellow onion||1 Small, chopped|
|Carrot||1 , chopped|
|Stalk celery||1 , chopped|
|Canned chopped tomatoes||1 1⁄2 Cup (24 tbs)|
|Dry white wine||1 1⁄2 Cup (24 tbs)|
|Tarragon||1 Tablespoon, chopped|
|All purpose flour||1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs)|
|Clam juice||3 Cup (48 tbs)|
|Water||3 Cup (48 tbs)|
|Heavy cream||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Cayenne pepper||1 Pinch|
|Ground pepper||To Taste|
First, clean and crack the crabs: Twist off the legs and claws and set aside. Place each crab on its back and pull off the small triangular apron-shaped shell flap, then insert your thumb underneath the top shell and pull it off. Remove the dark gray intestines and the feather-shaped white spongy gills from the body and discard. Rinse the crab body well. Break the body in half and remove the meat from the cavities. Using a mallet, crack the legs in several places and remove the meat. Set aside the crabmeat in a bowl. Crack the large claws and carefully remove the meat from each claw in a single piece. Slice the meat and set aside for garnish. Using kitchen shears, cut the shells into small pieces; set aside.
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. Serves 6.