Celebrations, Christmas, Corn, Crab, New Year's, Seafood, Soups

Succulent and creamy Emeril’s corn and crab bisque just right for New Year’s Eve

December 29, 2015

There are two kinds of New Year’s Eve participants: those who go out, and those who stay home.

I’m generally planted in the latter camp….have been for years….and if you’re like me, there’s a good chance you’re casting about for something special to serve for dinner, something that screams romance, friendship, family or just final decadence before resolutions come home to roost.

I’m here to recommend one of my all time favorite soups, Emeril’s corn and crab bisque. Done right, with its perfect balance of dairy and stock, its tender corn and succulent jumbo lump crabmeat, this soup delivers elegance in a way that others don’t. I’ve served it as a main course and as a starter, and each time I’ve placed it on the table, it’s earned rave reviews.

The recipe I use is found in Emeril’s New New Orleans Cooking, a cookbook published in 1993 by Chef Emeril Lagasse shortly after he opened Emeril’s in New Orleans, and well before the weight gain, the silly bams, the Food Network & Bravo Channel appearances and the explosion of national restaurants. In today’s fleeting world of food media, a cookbook published that long ago (and…horrors…one without pictures) seems irrelevant, but some cookbooks earn the right to be dog-eared and stained from use, and this is definitely one of them.

Close versions of the recipe are available online, including this one on Emeril’s website. Note: If you follow it, definitely use the teaspoon of liquid crab boil, which he has updated as “optional.” If you do that, you probably won’t need the cayenne pepper. Use seafood stock instead of water. You can buy great boxed or canned stocks these days. Also, I always use a full 16 oz. (1 pound) of crabmeat in the recipe, instead of a half-pound, as he recommends. And, I only use fresh, not frozen, jumbo lump crabmeat. Occasionally when I go to make it, I can find only frozen, but it’s just not the same.


To younger foodies, Emeril might seem overly commercial or past his edgy prime. But I disagree. I had a chance to hear him speak and taste some of his creations at a gala during the Association of Food Journalists conference this fall in Tampa/St. Petersburg. He’s got a strong base of activity in Florida, and that weekend, he had engineered an incredible event at the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts in which talented regional chefs developed amazing dishes using Florida’s relentless bounty of local meats, seafood, produce and products.

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I think the guy’s recipes are generally amazing, and this soup is so worth the effort.

Open wide! CrabsoupClip

Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

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