While basking on the beach yesterday in Punta el Custodio, Mexico, the boys decided to behave like, well, boys and torture a few of the small blue crabs in the tide pools.
After a half hour of chasing them with long sticks they decided to actually catch some.
I was impressed they caught 33 of the poor creatures. I was even more impressed when they cleaned and boiled them. Bisque was on their minds. My dad gave us his recipe he made up last month when it was crab breeding season in the estuary and he captured 240.
It is a time consuming process, but the bisque turned out rich and bursting with flavor.
3-5 pounds fresh whole crab
6 cloves garlic
3 Tbs. butter
8 ripe tomatoes or one large can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1.5 cups cream
Rinse crabs thoroughly in fresh water, getting out any grit. Use protective work gloves if using live crabs.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put crabs in batches into water and cook about 5 minutes.
Rinse crabs again and cut off and discard females' tails if they contain eggs.
With a cleaver, chop an "x" in the backs of each crab and crush the claws with the blade of the knife.
Bring another large pit of water to a boil and toss in all the crabs. Simmer without the lid for 3-5 hours. You should have a concentrated broth that smells über crabby and kind of gross. Strain broth into a smaller pot and discard all the crab parts. Stir in bouillon based on how much broth you have. I added two teaspoons.
Let the broth cool and then refrigerate if you don't have time to finish bisque on the same day.
Toss the butter into a tall-sided frying pan and turn to medium heat. Chop up the garlic and add to pan. Sauté for a few minutes, but don't let it burn. Roughly chop the onion and grate up the carrots. Add to pan and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add more butter if it gets too dry.
Chop up the tomatoes if using fresh. Add tomatoes to the pan and cook till everything is soft and cooked through — about 10 minutes.
Let cool and place in a food processor. Process till smooth, about two minutes.
Add this mixture to the crab stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for three hours with the lid off so the bisque reduces a bit. Add paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and leave the bisque till it's room temperature. Stir in the cream.
Serve room temp or pop a bowl in the microwave for 40 seconds before eating.