Monday, March 21, 2011

A Spicy Tomato Crab Bisque for When You Need to Think Fast

This light and spicy tomato crab bisque is one of my all-time favorite "need something gourmet at the last minute" emergency recipes. It's easy to shop for, requires very little effort, and only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to pull off. Of course, none of that would matter if it didn’t taste any good, but that's really not a problem here.

Besides its ability to impersonate a special occasion soup, this crab bisque also tastes fantastic…if you use a decent, preferably all natural brand of soup. There are lots of choices, especially if you are shopping at stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joes.

I'm using Pacific Natural's Organic Creamy Tomato Soup, which seems to be easy find. The ingredient list isn't the least bit scary, and it has a nice rich flavor that pairs perfectly with the sweet shellfish.

The green onion and Old Bay butter sizzle at the beginning is the only real work, but it's two-minutes very well spent. By the way, this isn't a thick style bisque, so if you do want something sturdier, then add an extra spoon of butter and 2 spoons of flour to the green onion step (be sure to cook out the raw taste of the flour).

For the crab, you could use canned in a pinch, but most of the larger grocery store chains (the ones with the good soup) will carry 8-oz tubs of lump crabmeat, and it really is worth the extra cash.

After the crab, and a healthy does of cayenne, the only other decision is whether you use cream. It is technically optional, but highly recommended, and as you'll see, I like it swirled on top. You can also stir it in with the crab and save a step, but you'll miss out on the, "random fractal of butter fatty goodness," I mention in the video. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 quart prepared creamy tomato soup
cayenne to taste
8-oz tub lump crabmeat
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

View the complete recipe

29 comments:

Rita said...

i wish i can get some fresh crabs that will not cost me an arm and a leg. but alas! this is what i get for living in germany. canned crabs it will be.

that will be good with YOUR no-knead ciabatta recipe, which by the way, always makes a repeat performance here at home. thanks chef J!

Anonymous said...

a little bit of lemon juice in this soup would really be nice as well i guess...

Anonymous said...

I smell another t-shirt coming
"Your the boss of your Bisque"

Anonymous said...

How's it going Sandra Lee? errrhmmm cough cough I mean Chef John.

Anonymous said...

Your "joke" at the end cheered me up... and I'll hold you to it: homeade tomato soup, can't wait:)

desertdoll said...

Chef John,
Is that the freakishly small wooden spatula?

AND, did you have left over soup from your Tomato Tuna Penne Pasta to make this recipe?

Chef John said...

yes and no. :-)

Chris K. said...

I take issue with the anonymous "Sandra Lee" swipe posted above, for two reasons:

1. While I would like Chef John to be a robot, posting nothing but delicious made-from-scratch dishes, I also recognize he's actually human and probably has other things to do besides running a free video recipe blog.

Sometimes convenience is a necessary choice. If I can learn how to incorporate prepared ingredients in a way that works to my advantage, so much the better. There is nothing wrong with that.

2. You may look down your nose at the ingredients Sandra Lee uses, but consider the fact she may be educating and inspiring people to cook at home who might not otherwise do so - or even have access to a Whole Foods market for top quality, fresh ingredients (the horror!). Nothing wrong with that either.

Chef John said...

Thanks Chris! We all open a can of soup once in a while, and this is just one way to make it a special meal. I'd hope the commenter was just going for a cheap laugh, and not really ripping the semi-homemade queen.

CeeCee said...

I am dieing to take a taste but I'm allergic to shell fish! Arg! What substitution tastes like crab? Because I really want to try this recipe!

Chef John said...

use a high quality imitation crab, which is made from fish.

Anonymous said...

anon Sandra commenter here, yeah just a cheap laugh. A little poke in the ribs for good ol' Johnny. Btw Chef John have you heard of foodnetworkhumor.com / what do you think of it. It's good for quite a few laughs.

Asian Malaysian said...

Sure, why should Tony Bourdain have exclusive rights to talk shit about anyone and everyone? Its fun! Im even imagining him narrating this as I type. Btw, had a quick looksee @ that foodnetwrokhumour. Its funny but has its own factual errors so it should be taken with a big pinch of kosher salt.

Btw, as much as Id love to try this soup, both the main indicated products (the crab and the soup- the good stuff) are both imported and on the pretty expensive side here in Malaysia. Btw, I made your cream of mushroom last Saturday for a pot luck reunion dinner and it kicked the shit out of the rest of the table (ok the roast lamb shoulder was close)but God does browning mushrooms take long!Thanks, Chef John!

Hilding said...

I see how this is a tip on making a soup really fast if you don't have the time or energy to make an effort, but couldn't you please John make show me a recipe for a great homemade tomato soup? =) I love soup, more soup to the people!

Chris said...

"Butter fatty goodness" - I like it!

Ritsin said...

"Tomato soup? UGH" said my husband reliving childhood memories.

"Spicy Crab Bisque. YUM! Seconds please."

Another winner Chef John. Thank you.

Ami said...

Got a substitution question...

I just made your Creme Fraiche. Could I substitute a portion of creme fraiche in place of the whipping cream?

Chef John said...

Yes!

Clint said...

Chef John! We want to make this recipe for company - but having difficult time with incorporating it into a menu....any ideas are appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Can Campbell's soup be used?

Anonymous said...

any substitution for old bay ? I live in norway so i cant find it.

Christine said...

Dear Chef John,

If I want to double this recipe, do I have to double the seasoning as well? I've heard that when you double a recipe, you should never double the seasoning or it will come out too salty. Please help!

Chef John said...

It doesn't matter since you should never measure salt anyway! Season to taste!

Pierremoz said...

Hi Chef John, I only just logged in here, some amazing recipes and videos, thank you.

I live in Mozambique and have never hear of Old Bay, Googled it and am now sure we don't have it in any of our stores.

Is there any type of substitute?
Something I can use in it's place?

Thank you.

Pierremoz said...

Hi Chef John,

I only just logged on here for the first time.
Fantastic recipes and videos, thank you!

I live in Mozambique and have never heard of "Old Bay", just Googled it and am sure we don't have it here or in South Africa, next door.

Is there any possible substitute that you could suggest??

Thank you.

Chef John said...

here u go... Ingredients
Celery Salt (Salt, Celery Seed), Spices (Including Mustard, Red Pepper, Bay [Laurel] Leaves, Cloves, Allspice [Pimento], Ginger, Mace, Cardamom, Cinnamon), and Paprika.

Anonymous said...

Toward the end of the video Chef John says he was working on a homemade tomato soup video.

Has that been released to the general public?

Betty said...

This is my favourite go-to soup recipe to make a simple dinner (or leftovers) special. Tonight, it will be served in mugs on a buffet table while friends create Christmas floral arrangements and eat and drink casually through the evening. I love it, too, when I'm alone and want something comforting on a cold Canadian day. Thanks, Chef John!

Birder said...

For some odd reason, Old Bay seasoning doesn't seem to have made it into stores in my part of Canada. There is a recipe, however, at Chow.com that seems pretty reliable:
http://www.chow.com/recipes/10591-old-bay-seasoning
Thanks for the bisque technique!