Dungeness Crab Bisque with Sherry Cream
¾ cup mascarpone cheese
6 tablespoons Amontillado sherry
Pinch of sugar and salt
1. Whisk together, cover, refrigerate.
1 (2 pound) dungeness crab
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
½ red onion, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic
½ cup brandy
1 cup white wine
2 cups clam juice
2 cups water
¾ cup tomato paste
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped
½ teaspoon dry thyme
½ teaspoon dry marjoram
1 large bay leaf
2 cups cream
½ fennel bulb, chopped
½ bunch italian parsley
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ bunch chives, sliced thinly
1. Place a small stockpot with about 2 inches of water in it on stove over high heat. Bring to boil and place crab in pot, cover, reduce heat to medium and steam for 15 minutes. Remove crab and set on cookie sheet to cool. When cool, clean and crack crab—do not rinse! Scoop out any greenish and white parts inside top shell of crab before discarding shell. Set aside these “innards.” Remove meat from shells, and go over it carefully for shell fragments.
2. Heat olive oil in a small stockpot until it shimmers and add carrot, celery, onion, and garlic, stir for a few minutes and add the brandy carefully (it may flame up). After it burns off, or boils a minute, add white wine, clam juice, water, tomato paste, potato, herbs, cream, fennel, and Italian parley.
3. Bring to a boil and adjust heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, covered.
4. Add salt and reserved “innards,” and blend in batches in blender (use caution: cover blender with towel and fill no more than 2/3 full) until completely smooth.
5. To serve, heat soup to a simmer, stir in picked crab, serve in hot soup bowl with a dollop of sherry cream, chives, and breadsticks or French bread.