Fair warning, guys: this recipe is epic. It’s an indulgent,
comforting dish, full of beautiful sparkling flavours – the richness of the
crab is balanced by the subtle, almost floral flavour of the fennel and a bit
of zip and zing from the freshly-squeezed orange juice. It’s very pretty too,
because the end result is the most gorgeous coral colour – so it’s perfect for
a dinner party (just don’t tell your guests how easy it is to prepare).
120g crab meat (tinned is fine)
50ml freshly-squeezed orange juice
Serves 2, or 4 as
Pull off the fennel fronds and set aside for garnish.
Finely chop the onion, fennel, carrot and garlic, and then melt a good-sized
scoop of butter in a saucepan and get them frying gently. My golden rule for
soups is that they should always be made with butter – since they’re usually
packed with veg, I think that pretty much cancels the butter out. Add a bit
more if the veg is looking at all dry.
Once the onions have softened up nicely, add the tomato
puree and stir through well. Then add the crab meat, saffron and fish stock,
bring to the boil, then turn the heat right down, cover and simmer for 20
When the time is up, use a hand blender to puree the
vegetables until the soup is really smooth, and then pass through a sieve to
remove any small bits. Stir the contents of the sieve really well to get as
much liquid through as possible. Return the sieved soup to the heat and pour in
the cream. Let it simmer for another five minutes, until it’s thick enough to
coat the back of a spoon.
Finally, add the fresh orange juice and a pinch of salt
(you don’t need much salt – but do taste it to make sure) and then divide
between bowls and top with the reserved fennel fronds. Serve with hot sourdough
toast and unsalted butter – heavenly.