Bisque is a thick, rich soup usually consisting of puréed seafood (sometimes fowl or vegetables) and cream. You can buy fresh or frozen, pre-cooked Dungeness crab at your local fishmonger or upscale food market.Michael Fagan from Food & Drink magazine recommends serving the following wines with this dish: Hillebrand Trius Brut or King Estate Pinot Gris 2001.
In a large stockpot heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the onions, celery, bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic and parsley
Sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the white wine and water and bring to a boil.
Slide the crab into the boiling liquid and cooking at boiling for 10 minutes.
Remove the crab from the boiling liquid with tongs and plunge it into a large bowl of ice water to stop the crab from overcooking so it is easy to work with.
Discard the cooking liquid.
Crack the crab and remove all the meat you can.
Cover the crab meat with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Reserve the crab shells to make the bisque.
In a medium stockpot heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the crab shells, chopped vegetables, garlic, star anise and thyme sprigs.
Sauté for 4 to 6 minutes and stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste.
Cook for 1 minute longer
Deglaze the pan with the white wine and the cognac and simmer for about 6 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds.
Add the fish stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, occasionally skimming the top for impurities.
Strain the liquid into a clean medium saucepan, pressing down on the solids with a ladle to extract as much liquid as possible.
Discard the solids.
Bring the bisque to a boil on medium-high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, skimming the top occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to about 3 1/4 cups.
Stir in the cream, bring to a simmer and check the seasoning.
Divide the crab meat among 4 bowls and top with the bisque.
Garnish with chives and serve.