Crab and Fennel Stew

  • Serves

    serves 4-6


Meaty crab legs are cooked in their shells in a fragrant tomato-based broth in this robust stew, which first appeared in our December 2013 issue along with Corey Arnold's article Polar Harvest.


  • 14 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bulb fennel, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 14 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp. piment d'Espelette
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups fish or chicken stock
  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
  • 2 lb. precooked king or snow crab legs, defrosted if frozen and cut into 3″ pieces
  • 2 tbsp. roughly chopped basil
  • 2 bunches roughly chopped parsley
  • Country bread, for serving (optional)


Step 1

Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, celery, shallots, fennel, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes Add wine; cook until reduced by half, 1–2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, thyme, piment d'Espelette, and bay leaves; cook, stirring, until slightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add stock and tomatoes; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thick, 15–20 minutes. Stir in crab; cook until shells are bright red and meat is tender, 2–3 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Stir in basil and parsley; serve with bread, if you like.

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