yield: Makes 8 first-course servings
This soup can be pureed by pressing it through a strainer or a food mill. It can also be pureed in a blender and then strained.
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 stalks chopped celery
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion or shallot
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1/4 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger (from about 3-inch-long piece)
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 pound bell peppers, chopped
- 1 3/4 cups chopped fresh fennel bulb
- 3 pounds tomatoes, diced (about 8 cups)
- 5 1/4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons (about) hot pepper sauce
- 1 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over
- Thinly sliced radishes (optional)
- Chopped fresh chives (optional)
For spice mix:
Toast all ingredients in heavy medium skillet over medium heat until spices darken slightly in color and start to pop, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Cool in skillet. Transfer to spice mill and grind finely.
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion/shallots, and carrots. Sauté until vegetables soften slightly, about 8 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and sauté 3 minutes. Add bell peppers and fennel. Stir 2 minutes to coat. Add tomatoes; cook until tomatoes soften and break down, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add broth and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Add ground spice mix; return soup to boil. Remove from heat; cover and steep 20 minutes.
Place coarse sieve over large bowl. Working with 2 cups at a time, strain soup into bowl, pressing liquid and most of solids through sieve. Season soup to taste with hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate soup until cold, at least 3 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
Ladle soup into 8 shallow bowls. Divide crabmeat among bowls. Garnish with radish slices and chives.