Monday, August 15, 2011

Anne Clayton's Deviled Crab Bisque

When I saw this recipe from Anne Clayton in nFocus about a year ago I knew it was one I was going to love!  We tried it soon after for Sunday dinner and it was so delicious I then proceeded to serve it for my office holiday lunch!  Though this meal is rather easy to put together, it does take some prep work, part of which is picking through the crab meat for shells.  As we picked and plucked I thought back on my first cooking experience with Anne on St. Simon's Island.  I was still in college and desperately wanting to know how to cook.  I had followed recipes before and had made some pretty good meals but what I wanted to learn was not written in any cookbook or on any website. 

 The true ability to cook is to look, see what is fresh, see what looks good, talk to the butcher to see what they recommend, and take it home to make a delicious meal.  I wanted to learn what to look for, what to avoid, what goes with what and most importantly, the things to avoid.  All of this I learned from Anne as I followed her through the grocery, off to the fresh seafood market and sat patiently watching as she whisked, marinated, chopped, and sauteed! 

 It was an experience that I will never forget and one that has served me well for many years.  I still check with Anne when I have a question about things, get her opinion on what would work best, and never once has she led me astray.  This recipe is no different....I hope you enjoy!

Deviled Crab Bisque
2 cups clam juice
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3 bay leaves
½ cup dry sherry

Combine ingredients in a heavy bottom pan and bring to a bare simmer. 
Keep hot but do not boil.

Saute the following in six tablespoons of butter:
1 ½ cups minced yellow onion 
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup minced celery
1 cup minced red bell pepper
1 cup minced green bell pepper

Saute until soft and onions are translucent. Do not brown.

Add to vegetable mix:
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp white pepper
4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp paprika

Stir to blend and then add two ounces of white flour and blend. 
Slowly add hot liquids, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer to thicken.  Add one tablespoon and two teaspoons of seafood stock base. Stir to blend.
 Add one pound of fresh crabmeat, picked over for shells. 
Taste and adjust seasonings.

 Serve hot topped with snipped fresh chives and either oyster crackers or homemade croutons seasoned with butter, Old Bay and a little salt. Pass the Tabasco!
—Anne Clayton

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