Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sweet Corn and Crab Bisque

I had the occasion during the weekend with wife Jane to attend the annual Hampton, N.H., Seafood Festival. Certainly as the name implies, it is a festival devoted to seafood and we certainly got our fill as we trolled the food tents, assessing the offerings from a variety of restaurants from throughout the New Hampshire seacoast region.

I got more than my fill with lobster stew, scallops and bacon on a stick, and lobster roll. It also inspired me to try something new in the kitchen for dinner, which I'll talk about next week.

The festival included some cooking demonstrations, and we watched Ron Boucher, a restaurant owner and instructor, show how to prepare his recipe for sweet corn and crab bisque. Boucher (pictured here, photo courtesy of his web site) owns Ron's Landing in Hampton, N.H., and Chez Boucher, his French cooking school.

Here is the bisque recipe he presented at the festival:

12 ears of corn on the cob, hulled (Save the used cobs, you'll need them later.)
1 each bay leaf
1 stick unsalted butter
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 each Vidalia onion, diced
16 ounces crab meat
8 cups seafood stock (Boucher recommended the clam juice that you can buy bottled at your local food store.)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 package fresh basil, stemmed and chopped
2 ounces butter
2 ounces sherry

1) Hull all of the corn off the cob and reserve;
2) Melt butter on low heat in a large soup pot. Add the diced onion and hulled corn kernels, cover and sweat on medium low heat for about 12 to 15 minutes. (In the demo, he talked of the importance of sweating to covert the starch of the corn into sugar.);
3) Add the seafood stock and blend well;
4) Tie all of the fresh basil stems together along with a bay leaf and fresh thyme and drop them into the pot along with the corn cobs;
5) Bring the soup to a slow simmer and once at a simmer cook it out for 20 to 30 minutes;
6) Remove the corn cobs and fresh herbs. Puree the soup with a stick blender to a pulpy consistency;
7) Add the crab meat, chopped basil and heavy cream. Bring the soup back to a simmer, adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper;
8) Optional: Finish the soup with a little butter and splash of sherry if desired.

Digg this

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