Crab Soup

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

Umami

Umami

By Ole Mouritsen

Published 2014

  • About

Ingredients

  • 2 kg ( lb) small live crabs
  • 100 g ( oz) celeriac
  • 100 g ( oz) onion
  • 100 g ( oz) leek tops
  • 100 g ( oz) carrots
  • ½ dL ( c) olive oil
  • 3 dL ( c) dry white wine
  • 1 dL ( c) dry white vermouth, such as Noilly Prat
  • 5 Tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 head fresh dill
  • ½ chile pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1 L ( c) water
  • 100 g ( oz) butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • possibly a little Tabasco sauce
  • bread for making croutons olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed

Method

  1. Sort the crabs carefully and discard dead ones, if any. Even one dead crab can spoil the soup. Cut the vegetables coarsely into cubes.
  2. Lightly sauté the crabs in very hot oil in a pot with a thick bottom.
  3. Add the vegetables and stir to coat with the oil, then add the wine and vermouth, together with the puréed tomato, bay leaves, thyme, dill, chile pepper, and brown sugar.
  4. Cook until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds, then add the water and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Strain off the bouillon, crush the crabs in the pot with a heavy spoon, and return the stock to the pot. Allow the soup to simmer for another 30 minutes, adding the butter halfway through.
  6. Carefully skim off the butter and reserve to add color and taste to the soup at the end. Strain again to produce a clear bouillon to use as a base.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, and possibly a little Tabasco sauce, and whisk in a little of the crab butter.
  8. To make croutons, trim the crusts off the bread, cut into small cubes, and toast them in a pan with hot olive oil and the crushed garlic clove. Serve the soup garnished with the croutons.

The Full-Bodied Version

Mix together saltwater fish and langoustines cut into chunks, mussels, a little tomato paste, olive oil, parsley, garlic, finely chopped onion, and salt. Cook in the soup for 1–2 minutes, so that the fish is still a little raw in the middle. Served steaming hot and topped with bread, garlic mayonnaise, and a head of fresh dill, this makes a main course.