Corn–Blue Crab Bisque

Anita Lo

Annisa, NYC

Anita Lo resourcefully uses crab shells to add deep flavor to this wonderful bisque. 


  • Blue Crabs:
  • 3 jumbo blue crabs, heads removed (have a fishmonger do this)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • Corn–Blue Crab Bisque:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • Heaping 1/4 cup peeled and chopped carrots
  • Heaping 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • Scant 3 tablespoons rice
  • Small pinch cayenne
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 large ears corn, kernels removed and reserved; corncobs reserved
  • 4 cups crab or lobster stock
  • 1 cup chopped beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig tarragon, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Tabasco to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped chives for garnish
  • Lemon zest for garnish


Make the crabs: melt the butter in a large pot over high heat. Add the crabs and brandy. Stir until the brandy has evaporated. Cover the crabs with water and bring to a boil. Boil until the crabs are cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove the crabs and let cool. Crack them open and remove the meat. Reserve the crab cooking juices and shells. Refrigerate the meat until ready to use. 

Make the bisque: melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery; sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice and cayenne; stir to combine. Add the white wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved crab liquid and shells. Add the corncobs, stock, tomatoes, bay leaf, and tarragon. Simmer until well flavored and the vegetables and rice are falling apart, about 1 hour. 

Remove the corncobs and crab shells. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until very smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, using a rubber spatula to press as much liquid through the sieve as possible. 

Add the cream and season to taste with lemon juice, Tabasco, salt, and pepper. Stir in the reserved crabmeat and corn kernels. 

To serve, divide the soup among 4 serving bowls. Garnish with chives, tarragon and lemon zest.


4 servings