Tortellini of dungeness crab with cauliflower puree, pickled florets and light crab bisque


West: The Cookbook

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 16 cups court bouillon
  • 1 Dungeness crab, about 2 lbs
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ onion, finely diced
  • 1 rib celery, finely diced
  • ¼ head fennel, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp brandy
  • 2 sprigs tarragon
  • 0.33 cup whipping cream
  • 8 oz pasta dough
  • 4 oz chicken mousse
  • ½ oz chives, chopped (about 1 Tbsp)
  • Deep fried parsley for garnish
  • 1 head cauliflower, about 8 oz, cut into florets but stalk and trimmings reserved
  • 1 cup pickling liquor
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 0.33 cup 2% milk
  • 0.33 cup chicken stock
How to Make It
    Crab Tortellini And Bisque
  1. In a large pot, bring court bouillon to a boil. Add crab and cook for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the crab to cool in the bouillon. Pick the crab meat from the shell: first, twist off the legs and claws and set them aside. To remove the back, hold the base of the crab with one hand and pull the shell away from the body with the other hand. Discard the soft gills and the intestine. Spoon out the soft brown meat and reserve it for other recipes. Gently rinse the crab shell and crack it into four pieces. Pick out all of the crab's white meat-from the legs, claws and rest of the body-and set this meat aside in the refrigerator. Break crab shells into 2-inch pieces.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, celery, fennel and garlic and roast for 6 minutes. Add crab shells and tomato paste and roast for another 5 minutes. Add brandy, then ignite with a flame to flambe. After the flame has died, cover the mixture with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cook for 40 minutes and add tarragon. Strain the liquid through a sieve into another pot, and discard the solids. Bring the liquid to a boil and heat for ro to 12 minutes until reduced by half, skimming any impurities off the surface during the process. Add cream and season this bisque with salt and pepper.
  3. Roll pasta to the thickness of a dime. Cut twelve 2lh-inch-diameter rounds. Mix crab meat with chicken mousse and chives, then season the mixture with salt and pepper. Place 2 tsp of the crab mixture in the centre of a round of pasta. Moisten the edges and fold the pasta over the filling to make a tortellino, pinching the edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining pasta rounds.
  4. Puree And Florets
  5. Heat a medium pot of water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove the florets from the water, combine them with the pickling liquor in a medium non-reactive bowl and set aside.
  6. Finely cut the cauliflower stalks and trimmings. In a small saute pan, heat butter on high heat, then add the stalks and sweat for 1 minute. Cover with milk and chicken stock and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Puree this mixture in a blender, season with salt and pepper and pass through a fine sieve.

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