Blue Crab Bisque


Floridians have access to the finest and freshest seafood in the country. Although they might not receive the same reverence as stone crabs, blue crabs are no less of a delicacy and significantly easier to acquire. Suitable as a starter or main dish, this creamy crab soup is guaranteed to warm you up after a cold day on the water.

If you can catch or purchase whole blue crabs, then it’s best to create a homemade stock. Otherwise, you’ll want to use ready-made fish or vegetable stock. To clean crab meat in preparation of making the base, remove the back shell and gills, then discard. With a sharp knife create a horizontal incision across the body, exposing the meat chambers. Gently pry the largest pieces of fine-textured backfin from the body and then focus on the jumbo lump from the two large muscles connected to the swimming legs. Crack the claws behind the pincer joint to access dark meat that’s high in fat and strong in flavor.

Place broken shells with meat removed in a large pot with just enough water to cover. Heat to high, but do not bring to a boil and keep below a simmer for an hour. Skim away foam periodically. Add white wine, carrots, leeks, celery, tomato paste, parsley, tarragon and thyme sprigs. Continue with a low simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Remove solids with a fine mesh strainer and reserve stock in a separate vessel.   

When you’re ready to make the bisque, heat a large pot and add butter. Stir in onion and shallots and cook until translucent. Gradually whisk in crab stock and bring to a boil. Add flour, mix vigorously and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in heavy cream, paprika and cayenne pepper. Once the flavors have melded, it’s time to puree in a blender so the bisque is velvety smooth. Pour the mixture back into the pot and add crab meat. Cook until warm and then ladle into a shallow bowl. Garnish with cayenne pepper, thyme and cream swirls. Enjoy!


  • 12 live or frozen uncooked blue crabs
  • 3 c. white wine
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 leeks, finely chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika