Sophisticated Local Flavor: Box Crab Bisque

Who better to teach us how to make the ultimate crab soup than a crab fisherman? This warming, indulgent recipe comes courtesy of Dan Major of Plan B Sustainable Fisheries, who was featured in Issue
42 in July 2017. Find your local box crab at Tuna Harbor dockside market.

Photography By Olivia Hayo | November 29, 2018

Ingredients

  • 12 cups water
  • 3 pounds live box crab, approximately 2 medium crabs
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut from cob
  • 1/2 cup cooking sherry
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Fresh chives and parsley, chopped, for garnish

Instructions

Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add live box crab, onion, carrots, and garlic; return to a boil. Remove crab after 7 or 8 minutes and set aside to cool.

Reduce heat to medium low and leave vegetables to continue simmering in the stock.

Remove crab meat from legs and keep chilled until ready to use. Place crab shells back into water and continue simmering the stock until vegetables are soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Strain and save about 3 quarts of broth along with vegetables. Pick out crab shells.

Return vegetables and stock to pot and purée with an immersion blender.  Add bay leaf, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Stir corn into boiling broth and simmer for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add sherry, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice to pot.

Ladle ½ a cup of the soup base into a small bowl and whisk in flour. Slowly pour into simmering soup while stirring constantly. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in cream.

Reduce heat to low, fold in crab meat, and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf to serve and garnish with chives and parsley.

Preparation

Notes on Cooking Box Crab

If you don’t cook it the day you buy it, put the crab on ice in a bowl in the refrigerator for up to a day. It should still be alive (and moving) before you cook it.

Gently rinse the crab under cool water. Simply steam the crab to enjoy with butter by filling a large pot with less than 2 inches of lightly salted water and placing a steamer basket on the bottom, which will prevent the crab from being submerged in water. Put the crab in the pot and close the lid.

Cook over medium-high heat, and when the water starts to boil or steam, set a timer for 7 to 8 minutes for a 2–3 pound crab.

Gently remove the crab using tongs. The flesh will be opaque when done.

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Ingredients

  • 12 cups water
  • 3 pounds live box crab, approximately 2 medium crabs
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut from cob
  • 1/2 cup cooking sherry
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Fresh chives and parsley, chopped, for garnish
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