Smoked Salmon and Halibut Bisque

Smoked Salmon and Halibut Bisque
Photo courtesy Skyler Creative

Rich and creamy perfectly describes this elegant seafood bisque. A touch of brandy or dry sherry adds complexity, but the real star of the stock is dungy crab shells that infuse sweetness and depth of flavor. This bisque works well with any white fish, fresh salmon, and/or shrimp.

Smoked Salmon and Halibut Bisque | Sitka Salmon Shares

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hr 15 min
Total time: 1 hr 25 min
Serves: 4


  • For the Stock:
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • Shells from 2 Dungeness crab clusters (about 3 cups)
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup brandy or sherry
  • 1 sprig each fresh tarragon and thyme
  • For the Bisque:
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 pound smoked salmon
  • 1 halibut fillet (about 12 oz)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Tarragon leaves for garnish


Make the stock

Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the crab shells and cook, stirring and pressing until lightly browned, 5–7 minutes. Stir in the onion, tomato paste, bay leaf, and peppercorns, and cook until onion is barely softened, 2–3 minutes. Add brandy and cook until evaporated. Add 6 c water (see note*) and the tarragon and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, 40–50 minutes. Strain the stock, pressing hard on the solids. Rinse out pot.

Make the bisque

Return the stock to the pot and if necessary, simmer until reduced to 3 c. In a small cup, combine cream and cornstarch until smooth. Stir into broth and simmer just until thickened. Break smoked salmon into large flakes and cut halibut into 1/2-inch pieces. Add 3/4 of the salmon to the pot, reserving the rest for garnish. Add the halibut and cook just until done, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and ladle into bowls. Garnish with the remaining smoked salmon and tarragon and serve.

*Note: Add any reserved crab steaming liquid. You can freeze the stock for up to 1 month. 

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Pro Tips

Pair it Up

Pair it Up

Balance the richness of the creamy bisque with a sparkling white or rosé wine — a rosé of pinot noir if you can find it. The light acidity and bubbles contrast the smooth soup.


*The information displayed is our analysis of the recipe based on its ingredients and preparation, and should not be considered a substitute for professional nutrition advice.

Smoked Salmon and Halibut Bisque Recipe | Sitka Salmon Shares

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