This is one of the best crab and shrimp bisque recipes I have ever had. It is extra-flavorful, and the crispness of the shrimp prevents any wasting of deliciousness. The addition of heavy whipping cream adds intense freshness, and the green onion adds a warm complexity not found in most bisques. The flaky, buttery crust balances out the rich seafood. The warm, creamy sauce is made in-house each time, and it disappears quickly into each mouthful.
What makes a bisque a bisque?
At its core, a bisque is a French-style soup that is typically made from shellfish such as lobster, crab, or crayfish. The name “bisque” comes from the French word “biscuit,” which originally referred to a type of twice-baked bread, but eventually came to be associated with the creamy soup made from seafood.
To make a bisque, you start by creating a rich and flavorful stock from the shells of the crustaceans, which is then combined with a generous amount of cream to create a smooth, velvety texture. To thicken the soup, some recipes call for the addition of finely-ground shells, while others use rice as a thickening agent. The end result is a soup that is rich, indulgent, and bursting with the delicate flavors of the sea.
Of course, not all bisques are made from shellfish. In fact, there are many variations of the soup that use different ingredients, such as tomato bisque, which is made from tomatoes and cream, or mushroom bisque, which is made from mushrooms and cream. However, the key elements that define a bisque are its smooth, creamy texture, and its use of a rich, shellfish-based stock.
What is the difference between bisque and cream of crab?
If you’re a seafood lover, you might have encountered two similar but distinct soups: crab bisque and cream of crab. Though they share some similarities, they are actually quite different from one another.
Crab bisque is a French-style soup made from shellfish broth that’s typically thickened with rice or ground up crab shells. The soup is seasoned with a generous blend of spices, including pepper, paprika, and thyme, and usually contains a splash of wine for added depth of flavor. Finally, a generous amount of cream is added to create a smooth and velvety texture.
On the other hand, cream of crab soup is a classic American soup that is roux-based, meaning it starts with a mixture of butter and flour to create a thick, creamy base. This base is then combined with seafood stock to create a rich, flavorful broth, which is then thinned with cream or milk to achieve the desired consistency. Unlike crab bisque, cream of crab soup typically doesn’t contain rice or ground up shells, and is seasoned more mildly with a blend of herbs like thyme, parsley, and bay leaves.
Crab and Shrimp Seafood Bisque
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped celery
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 8 ounces of crab meat
- 4 to 8 ounces small cooked shrimp or other seafood
- 2 tablespoons sherry wine
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped green onion and celery, and sauté until tender.
- Blend the flour into the butter and vegetables until well incorporated. Continue cooking and stirring for about 2 minutes.
- Warm the milk in another saucepan over medium heat.
- Slowly stir in the warmed milk and continue cooking and stirring until thickened.
- Add the freshly ground black pepper, tomato paste, and heavy cream.
- If desired, puree the soup in a blender or food processor at this point and then return it to the saucepan.
- Stir in the crab, shrimp, and sherry. Bring to a simmer.
- Serve hot, and garnish with thinly sliced green onion tops, cilantro, or parsley, or a spoonful of sour cream swirled on top.
Substitute finely chopped shallots for the green onions for a milder onion flavor.
Get creative with your garnishes – add your own touch with your favorite fresh herbs or spices.