Fish Soup with Crabmeat, Lemongrass, and Enoki Mushrooms


Serving small cups of soup as hors d'oeuvre is a nice way to warm up a winter gathering.


For the Soup:

  • 1 ¾ pounds king-crab legs, shells removed and cut into ½-inch pieces

  • 7 ounces enoki mushrooms, trimmed to one-inch lengths, including caps

  • Salt, to taste

For the Stock:

  • 4 pounds heads and bones of non-oily white fish, such as sole, flounder, snapper, or bass

  • 1 medium onion, cut into chunks

  • ½ head fennel, cut into chunks

  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into chunks

  • 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 10 stalks fresh lemongrass

  • 1 cup sake

  • 1 one-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced thinly

  • 5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

  • 5 sprigs fresh cilantro, stems and roots attached, plus more leaves for garnish

  • 10 whole black peppercorns


  1. Have your fishmonger remove gills and any traces of blood from heads and wash bones, cut to fit in a 12-quart stockpot, thoroughly.

  2. Place onion, fennel, carrots, and celery in a food processor; pulse until medium fine. Over medium heat, melt butter in stockpot. Add processed vegetables, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

  3. Cut 6 stalks of lemongrass in half lengthwise; set aside. Remove and discard tough outer layers of remaining 4 stalks; cut into very thin slices crosswise, and set aside.

  4. Add fish heads and bones to stockpot; raise heat to medium high. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes. Add sake, ginger, reserved lemongrass stalks, parsley, cilantro, peppercorns, and 2 1/2 quarts water. Reduce heat to low, skim any scum that has risen to surface, and simmer 25 minutes. Remove from heat; let sit for 10 minutes. Pass through a strainer lined with a double layer of dampened cheesecloth; discard solids. Skim off fat.

  5. Add the crabmeat, reserved lemongrass slices, and mushrooms; season with salt. Return soup to medium heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Pour soup into 12 very small vessels, such as sake cups. Garnish each with a cilantro leaf, and serve. Refill as necessary.

Cook's Notes

To save time, you can purchase good-quality fish stock at better fish markets.

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