Green Crab Bisque

Chef Charles Draghi, former owner of Erbaluce Restaurant, created this Green Crab Bisque dish in honor of Mike Furlong, a Plymouth area fisherman and promoter of green crab harvesting. Because they are so flavorful, you only need about half as much green crab to make a bisque as you would lobster bodies, making this a cheaper alternative to a classic dish without losing any character.


1 ½ pounds whole green crabs
1 cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons white peppercorns
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup dry sherry, or Marsala
2 cups white wine
1 teaspoon each: dried thyme, dried rosemary, and dried tarragon
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup rice, preferably Arborio
1 gallon filtered or spring water
1 teaspoon saffron
Crème fraiche, for serving
Chopped herbs, such as tarragon or parsley, for serving


1.   Sauté the whole crabs in the olive oil over medium heat, crushing the shells with a wooden kitchen spoon as you go and getting as much caramelization from the proteins as you can. (NOTE: Lots of caramelization is the key to a rich, flavorful bisque.)
2.   Add the vegetables and spices (except the saffron) and continue to sauté until the vegetables have been lightly browned, constantly scraping the bottom of the pan with the spoon.
3.   Add the sherry and white wine, and simmer for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol.
4.   Add the herbs, tomato paste, rice, and enough water to cover the crab shells by 2 inches. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.
5.   In a blender at high speed, blend all of the soup solids and broth until a thick, chunky mixture forms.
6.   Run the pureed soup through a fine mesh sieve to remove all pieces of shell and spices.
7.   Add saffron to the warm soup, and let it set for at least 30 minutes.
8.   Serve with crème fraiche and chopped tarragon or parsley.

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