Crab bisque

Crab bisque
  • 8 Servings
  • Capable cooks

There’s something utterly luxurious about a seafood bisque, which comes down to its intensity of flavour and creamy texture.

Featured in
Crab recipes, French recipes


  • 6 (about 2.5kg) uncooked blue swimmer crabs, washed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, finely chopped, fronds reserved
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 50g sachet tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 100g (1/2 cup) white long-grain rice
  • 250ml (1 cup) dry white wine
  • 2 litres fish stock (see note)
  • Cognac (optional), to serve
  • Toasts, to serve
  • Double cream, to serve
  • Cooked crab meat, to serve


  • Step 1
    Holding a crab upside-down, lift the tail flap (‘apron’), insert your thumb under the top shell, pull it away and discard. Twist off legs and claws, break legs into smaller pieces at joints, then, with the end of a heavy knife, break pieces in half again. Reserve leg pieces. Pull out and discard the grey gills (‘dead man’s fingers’) on both sides of the crab. Leave the mustard-like substance, known as coral, as it will add flavour.
  • Step 2
    Cut the crab body into 8 pieces. Repeat with remaining crabs.
  • Step 3
    Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat, add vegetables, paste and spices, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add all crab pieces and cook, turning occasionally, until they turn red. Add rice, wine and stock, bring to a simmer, then cook for 20 minutes. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl, transfer solids to a large bowl and, using the end of a rolling pin, coarsely crush shells to help extract more flavour. Return shells and liquid to pan and simmer (do not boil) for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve over a bowl, pressing down on solids with back of a spoon to extract all the liquid.
  • Step 4
    To serve, gently reheat bisque in a clean pan, season with sea salt and add Cognac (if using). Ladle among cups or small bowls and serve each topped with a toast spread with a spoonful of cream, a little crab meat and reserved fennel fronds.


  • 854 kj


  • 7g

    Fat Total

  • 1g

    Saturated Fat

  • 2g


  • 16g


  • 46mg


  • 1408.63mg


  • 5g

    Carbs (sugar)

  • 16g

    Carbs (total)

All nutrition values are per serve


For a fish stock recipe, visit

  • Author: Sophia Young
  • Image credit: Anson Smart
  • Publication: Vogue Entertaining + Travel



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