Cornish crab bisque with lemony croutons
- Preparation and cooking time
- Cook: -
- Serves 4 as a starter
Go beyond your average blend with this luxurious creamy shellfish soup, flavoured with saffron, brandy and fennel
- 2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil , plus a little to serve
- 1 onion , chopped
- 1 fennel bulb , fronds picked and reserved, bulb chopped
- 1 carrot , chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 garlic clove , crushed
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 200g crabmeat (half brown meat, half white meat) or 1 medium whole crab
- pinch of saffron
- 3 tbsp brandy
- 1l good-quality fish stock (or make your own if using a whole crab - see tip, below)
- 100ml double cream
- zest 1 lemon , plus a squeeze of juice
- 2 slices white bread , crusts removed, cut into croutons
- STEP 1
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, fennel, carrot and bay leaves with a pinch of salt and cook for 10 mins until really tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min more, then stir in the tomato purée for another 1 min. Add the brown crabmeat, saffron, brandy and some pepper, stirring until the brandy has bubbled away. Add the stock and stir until smooth. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15-20 mins or until the vegetables are soft.
- STEP 2
Using a hand blender, blitz the soup until smooth. Pass the soup through a sieve back into a clean saucepan, making sure you push through as much liquid as possible. Add the cream and simmer for another 5 mins – the soup should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add a few drops of lemon juice, taste and season or add more lemon if necessary, then chill until ready to serve.
- STEP 3
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the croutons with the remaining oil, the lemon zest and some black pepper on a baking tray. Bake for 10 mins, tossing halfway through, until crisp and golden. Leave to cool, then store in a plastic container until ready to serve. The soup and croutons can be made up to 1 day ahead.
- STEP 4
To serve, reheat the soup and divide between shallow soup bowls. Spoon a mound of white crabmeat into the centre of each bowl, then drizzle with a little oil and add a few of the reserved fennel fronds. Float a few croutons on top and serve with a little extra black pepper, if you like.