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Soups & Starters- crab, asparagus, & lemon soup
1 1/2 lb. crabs, cooked in the shell
1/2 lb. fine young asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 3/4 quarts water
1/2 cup long-grain rice
1/4 cup cream cheese
8 thin slices of French bread
3 egg yolks
2-4 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
chervil sprigs, to garnish
1. Extract the meat from the crabs. Put the shells in a plastic bag and, using a rolling pin, smash them into small pieces. Place the shell in a large pot, with any asparagus trimmings, and cover with 5 cups of the water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer into a clean pot.
2. Place the remaining water in a pot with a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, add the asparagus, and simmer for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Drain, reserving the liquid, rinse the asparagus in cold water, drain again, and set aside. Bring the crab stock back to a boil, add the asparagus liquid, reduce the heat, and add the rice. Simmer gently for 12-15 minutes or until rice is cooked.
3. Place the cream cheese in a bowl with 5 tablespoons of the crabmeat. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, and mix well. Toast the bread on both sides until lightly golden. Spread with the crabmeat mixture and keep warm.
4. Reduce the heat under the stock to a minimum. Mix the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a bowl, and whisk in a ladleful of the hot stock. Whisk the egg mixture back into the stock; do not let it boil or it will curdle. Season to taste, adding more lemon juice, if needed. Add the reserved asparagus and the remaining crabmeat, and heat through. Serve at once, sprinkled with the chervil sprigs ans accompanied by the crab toasts.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour