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Shrimp Bisque with Crab and Tapioca
© Kana Okada

Shrimp Bisque with Crab and Tapioca

  • ACTIVE: 1 HR
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS
  • SERVINGS: 6
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • STAFF-FAVORITE

Chef Way At his restaurant, John Besh simmers the broth for his bisque with the crushed shells of whole blue crabs.

Easy Way Chopped shrimp boiled in their shells flavor the broth for a home version of Besh's tapioca-studded bisque.

  1. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  2. 1/2 pound medium shrimp, coarsely chopped, with shells and tails
  3. 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  4. 2 onions, finely chopped
  5. 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  6. 1 celery rib, chopped
  7. 1/4 cup raw white rice, coarsely ground in a spice grinder
  8. 1 thyme sprig
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  11. 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  12. 1/4 cup brandy
  13. 2 cups bottled clam broth (16 ounces)
  14. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  15. 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  16. 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  17. Salt
  18. 2 cups whole milk
  19. 1/2 cup small pearl tapioca (not instant), rinsed
  20. 1 pound jumbo lump crab
  21. Snipped chives, for garnish
  1. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil. Add the chopped shrimp and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 6 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the onions, garlic and celery and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the rice powder, thyme, bay leaf, crushed red pepper and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the brandy and simmer until nearly evaporated. Add the clam broth, heavy cream and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse until the solids are finely chopped. Wipe out the pot. Strain the bisque into the pot, pressing hard to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce and season with salt.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the milk with 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Add the tapioca and cook, stirring constantly, until the pearls are translucent all the way through, about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir the tapioca and its milk into the bisque and add the crab. Spoon the bisque into shallow bowls, garnish with the snipped chives and serve.
Make Ahead The bisque can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight.

Suggested Pairing

Brisk Kerner from northern Italy.