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Arctic Crab Bisque with Crème Fraiche

Chef Mario Martinoli for Smart & Final

Serves 6


2                    carrots, peeled and diced into very small chunks
2 stalks           celery, small diced
3 medium        shallots, small diced
2 cloves           garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp             tomato paste

¾ cup              vegetable oil
8 Tbsp             butter
4 Tbsp              flour
1 Tbsp             chopped fresh tarragon
4 Tbsp             cognac
2 cups             heavy cream
1 cup               white wine
1 to 2 quarts     fish stock
2 sprigs            fresh tarragon
pinch                cayenne
                        freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

1 can (1 lb.)       Phillips Hand Packed Premium Crab Clawmeat
2 cups              Crème Fraiche


Heat a 12-inch sauté pan on medium-high heat and add the oil.  Add 3 Tbsp butter to the pan and sauté the shallots, carrots, celery and garlic until very lightly browned.  Add the white wine and the tomato paste.  Cook for 3 minutes, whisking to evenly disperse all the ingredients creating a uniform mixture. Add fish stock.  Season with salt, pepper and cayenne, and bring to a simmer.  Add the cream and bring to a simmer again.


Using a medium sauce pan, melt 5 Tbsp of butter; add flour and whisk to make a blond roux. Add the cognac to the roux and bring back to a smooth mixture. When the roux is ready, add a ladle of the stock to the roux, tempering it so it does not clump up and create lumps.


Add the tempered roux back to the stock, creating a thicker soup. Bringing this to a light boil will thicken the soup, creating bisque.  Over medium heat, add crab meat and chopped tarragon, making sure that it’s completely incorporated into the bisque. Return to a simmer and heat through for 5 minutes.

To serve, top each individual soup bowl with a dollop of Crème Fraiche and a sprig of tarragon, and offer with toasted bread or croutons seasoned with olive oil and garlic.

Served with the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition sweepstake winning white wine:  Geyser Peak Winery 2006 Sauvignon Blanc California.

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