Blushing Tomato Crab Bisque
My favorite tomato soup becomes a tomato crab bisque! This spicy tomato and crab bisque is loaded with tons of veggies, smooth cream and a hint of heat! So delicious as a starter or a main course!
Can you tell I’m trying to fit in a few last soup recipes before you guys look at me like I’m crazy? We’ve already had some roller-coaster-like weather in Houston this year. Currently, we’re sitting smack dab in the middle of 40-degree mornings with a high of 75 by mid-afternoon. That’s right; wear your jacket and throw on your flip flops too. So I’m taking this opportunity to kick on my oven and letting all the veggies for this tomato crab bisque roast up before it’s no longer a possibility during our sweltering summers.
The flavors in my tomato crab bisque are just right for spring. Light and beautiful jumbo lump crab meat paired with creamy tomato soup. I like serving it with a sliced, and olive oil rubbed toasted baguette on the side. And if you’re just not feeling a warm soup right now, you’ll be happy to know that this can be enjoyed gazpacho style once you’ve cooked it through and cooled it down.
Layers and layers of delicious deep flavors in this simple little tomato crab bisque. As I mentioned, it starts with slow roasted veggies. You know the carrots, tomatoes, garlic, and onions. You give them all a gentle olive oil massage and dust them with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Pop the baking tray in the oven and sit back while these humble vegetables slow roast in the oven and release the most delightful smells. The roasting process adds a ton more flavor and natural sweetness to your crab bisque.
Natures candy is slow roasted tomatoes. I’m convinced.
This is my tomato basil soup version 2.0. For those of you that have made my secret ingredient tomato basil soup, you know that I’m not joking around with this recipe.
In fact, I don’t kid around when tomatoes and basil are involved in a recipe in general. Basil? Yes, basil. I know this isn’t a typical ingredient that you find in homemade tomato crab bisque but basil is the perfect flavor that helps bring out the natural tartness of the tomatoes with the sweet jumbo lump crab meat. And if you’re doubting what I’m saying, give it a try. You’ll get it.
Side note: aren’t tomatoes gorgeous?
This winter I made a new habit for myself that so far seems to be treating me quite well. It not only helps you use ingredients to the fullest, but it also cuts back on unnecessary food costs and those cardboard stock containers. Once a month, I’ll make a huge vat of homemade stock, divide it out into quart-sized (affiliate link) containers, and pop it into the freezer to have on hand when I need it. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to keep bouillion on hand for when I need broth in a pinch, but this helps me use up snips of veggies that would otherwise land in the trash without being used to their full potential.
I’ve even started making shrimp stock from leftover shrimp peels. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because I’ve shared this with you before when we made spicy shrimp and pasta. Whenever I purchase shrimp with the shell on, I’ll clean them and save the peels in a zip top bag until I have enough for shrimp stock. Typically, I’ll make shrimp stock when I’ve got the peels saved up from 4 pounds of shrimp. For my tomato crab bisque, you can use homemade shrimp stock or seafood stock that you can find prepackaged at the store.
If you’d like to make shrimp stock, you’ll need the peels off of 4 pounds of shrimp, 6 cups of water, ten sprigs of parsley, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, a bay leaf, six cloves of whole garlic, a good pinch of salt and whole peppercorns. One thing I also like to add is nutritional yeast. This, however, is an optional ingredient. I find it adds a pleasing color and a little more flavor to the stock, but it’s not a crucial ingredient. Now just pop all of this in a stock pot and let it come to a boil before reducing the heat and simmering it for 30-40 minutes.
Once you’ve got your roasted veggies, this tomato crab bisque comes together in a flash! It’s as simple and blending it all up with your homemade or store-bought broth and flavoring it with cayenne, paprika, old bay, Worcestershire, cream, and basil pesto. The pesto adds a pleasant little something to this soup, and I know, it’s not an ingredient you typically see in crab bisque but it’s perfection.
Like a good chowder, bisques do taste better as they sit so if you’re planning on serving this over the weekend, I suggest you put it together about 24 hours in advance. I’d hold off on adding the crab to the bisque until just before serving though.
All those roasted veggies add so much rich depth to our homemade tomato crab bisque. Serve up big bowls with a grilled and sliced baguette.
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (see notes)
- 1/2 large onion, cut into wedges
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5 whole cloves of garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
Tomato Crab Bisque:
- 4 cups shrimp or seafood stock
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons basil pesto
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon old bay seasoning
- ½ - 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 8 to 16 ounces fresh or thawed lump crab meat
- roasting: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Place everything listed under 'roasting' on a large sheet pan. Sprinkle with a big pinch of salt and pepper and toss everything using your hands. Let roast for 1 hour if you have time you can also do this on 350ºF for 1 ½ hours. Check on the ingredients halfway through and toss.
- blend: Transfer the veggies along with any juices to a large pot along with the seafood stock, Worcestershire, 2 tablespoons pesto, cayenne, paprika, and old bay and blend it all using an immersion blender.
- finish: Place the stockpot over medium-high heat and allow the soup to reach a simmer, reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cream and allow the soup to come back to a simmer. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as desired. You can also add the last tablespoon of pesto if you'd like. Add the crab meat and let it heat through for about 5 minutes. Serve in bowls topped with additional crab meat and chopped chives if desired.
- You can use all Romas, Italian plums, or cherry tomatoes. I prefer a combination here. Typically I'll use halved Italian plum tomatoes and whole cherry or grapes.
- shrimp stock - if you want to make your own, you'll need: shells from 4 pounds of shrimp, 6 cups water, 10 sprigs parsley, a few sprigs of thyme, a bay leaf, 6 cloves garlic, salt, a few peppercorns, and 1/2 teaspoon of nutritional yeast (optional). Combine this in a large stock pot and allow the stock to come to a boil before lowering the heat and allowing it to simmer for 30-45 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer before using.
- Like a good chowder, bisques do taste better as they sit so if you're planning on serving this over the weekend, I suggest you put it together about 24 hours in advance. I'd hold off on adding the crab to the bisque until just before serving though.