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This silky blue crab soup will have you wondering how clam chowder was ever enough.

There is a movement afoot in some of the best Paris restaurants. A bistro is defined by a tiny kitchen and dining room, a menu based on what’s available, appealing and inventive to the chef and an all-around intimate culinary experience that will leave you sated and inspired. Food writer, editor and instructor Jane Sigal’s Bistronomy, a collection of her favorite bistro recipes, is a must-buy for any French-food fanatic. Try your hand at these recipes that are at once trendy and classic, and maybe plan a trip to Paris while you’re at it! 

At La Pointe du Grouin, chef Thierry Breton (the guy behind the bar in a red wool knitted cap, summer or winter) makes a hearty seafood soup with small blue crabs. These are the same as the pricey soft shell crabs you eat whole in spring and summer but with their hard, cold-weather shells, they’re a fraction of the price. They don’t have much meat on them — you toss them after they’re cooked — but they add intense seafood flavor to soups and sauces.

Make Ahead: The soup can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated for up to 2 days. The croutons can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Variation: If you can get your hands on scallops in the shell, save the coral and everything else you’re tempted to throw out. Wash them well and use instead of blue crabs to make a fantastic variation of this soup.

Reprinted with permission from Bistronomy