Crab Mushroom Soup with Herb Croutons

As the rain continues to pour, I think more and more about past trips. Doing the crab opener this season from the kayak continues to pop into my head as the highlight. The adventure was full circle… from the road trip, to prep work, to pulling the pots, to creating the ultimate crab feast, to returning home with the bounty and the stories that came with it. Unfortunately, there’s not much a of Dungeness fishery south of Santa Barbara, but I think we get spoiled by that species, and we also overlook the other types of crab that ARE obtainable in this Southern California region. So instead of defaulting to the option of breaking the bank on Dungeness and/or King crab (often times pre-cooked, processed and frozen), perhaps it’s time to open our minds and log a few days in our local crab fishery. While I’ve hoop-netted locally for spiny lobster and I’ve hoop-netted for Dungeness in Northern California, I have NOT taken a shot at local crabbing for “the other kinds.”  

This topic came up at the Farmer’s Market the other day and there was a great discussion on the local crab fishery and tapping this underfished seafood resource. Species like rock crab, red rock crab, slender crab, yellow crab, and others are absolutely delicious. While many still like the meatiness of King crab and the sweetness of Dungeness, the local crabs should not be shrugged off; the big ones provide plenty of meat and also have a unique sweetness. Whether steamed and served with lemon and drawn butter, added to a salad, mixed into a cioppino, thrown into a sandwich, or used as a soup topping (like this recipe), the local crab species provide an epic, empty canvass to cook just about anything. 

Next Recipe: Old Bay Salmon with Cheesy Potatoes, Artichokes, and Biscuits

On top of that, targeting these local species will reduce pressure and consumption of Dungeness and King crab, and add some balance to the system. It will also keep seafood purchases local vs. falling into the trap of buying processed options from overseas. Don’t get your fish monger started on that topic! Honestly, I think local crab has been off everyone’s radar because of the concept that local crab species are inferior. Give them a try. You may be surprised how good they taste, not to mention you’ll have a really good time mixing up where you fish, how you fish, and what you fish for.  

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Recipe: Crab Mushroom Soup


  • Crab:
  • 2 live Dungeness crabs
  • Large pot filled with 1 inch of water
  • Colander to fit the entire base of the pot
  • Soup:
  • Cooked crab - picked clean of all shells and cartilage
  • 1TBSP Baker & Olive Baklouti olive oil + 1 TBSP butter
  • Hamakua, oyster, cremini, shiitake, and lion’s mane mushrooms - chopped
  • 4-5 small russet potatoes or 2 large ones - peeled and cubed
  • 1 sweet yellow onion - minced
  • 1 head of garlic - roasted
  • 1 TBSP fresh thyme and rosemary - minced
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 12 cups of vegetable stock and/or chicken stock
  • 2 cups of oat milk
  • 2 TBSP sour cream
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 ounces bourbon (optional)
  • Cyprus flake salt & fresh cracked pepper
  • Herb Croutons:
  • 5 or 6 slices of bread (stale bread is ok) and use different varieties if you have (ie, sourdough, rye, wheat)
  • 1 TBSP of B&O Baklouti EVOO (or Harissa EVOO)
  • 3 TBSP melted butter
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste
  • 2 TBSP Herbs de Provence
  • Garnish:
  • 4 long green onions or a handful of chives - thinly sliced
  • Fresh lemon wedges


  1. Start by filling your large crab/lobster/stock pot with 1 inch of water, place a colander in the bottom of the pot, and bring water to a boil.
  2. Carefully drop the crabs in without tilting the colander over and cover for 17 minutes (for 4 or more crabs I recommend 20-22 minutes, but you should only need 1 or 2 for this preparation).
  3. When the crabs are done, remove and allow to cool (a cooler of ice will expedite the process). Carefully remove all the meat, while thoroughly sifting through to remove all shells and cartilage - then double check.
  4. During the steaming process, heat the oven to 400F. Cut the top from one head of garlic, add EVOO, salt and pepper, and wrap in foil. Roast for 20-25 minutes and remove.
  5. Peel and cube your potatoes and put them in cold water for 5 minutes and swish around before you dump the water. Rinse one more time. This reduces the starch, so the potatoes don’t get gummy.
  6. In the large pot (empty), add your stock, oat milk and potatoes and bring to a simmer. Note - you can use regular milk, but the Silk oat milk adds an earthy, corn flavor that goes really well with crab and mushrooms.
  7. In a large pan add EVOO and butter and sauté the onions for 5 minutes, and then add the mushrooms, rosemary and thyme. After 5 minutes, squeeze the roasted garlic cloves (should be very soft) into the pan and add the white wine.
  8. By now the potatoes should be soft, so puree them with an immersion blender (aka: the motorboat) and blend until smooth. Immediately add about half of the contents in the pan and puree until smooth. Then add the rest of the pan. We do this so that the soup is smooth and silky, but also has some of those amazing mushrooms, onions and roasted garlic pieces.
  9. Cut up all the bread in half-inch cubes and put them on a cookie sheet. Pour the olive oil and butter (melted) over the cubes and toss. Add all the seasonings and toss again. Put them in the oven that should still be on 400F and check every few minutes until they are crispy and seasoned.
  10. Ladle the soup into a bowl, drop a generous pile of crab in the center, top with seasoned croutons, and finish with green onions or chives and a squeeze of lemon to cut through the richness of the soup. When you’re done, have a second bowl. It’s that good.
Let’s just say, Adam Traubman could use a few more hours in each day. “Trout” can’t go more than 24 hours without fishing, surfing, paddling, diving, anything without getting the wiggles. So with a wife, three kids, two dogs, three snakes, an organic garden AND work... the man has his work c...
Tried the Dubu Jiggae My Way last week and it was AWESOME! Reading the Crab and Mushroom soup recipe right now and its got me seriously thinking of heading to the store.

Keep em coming this is awesome for us SEAFOOD lovers.