photograph by Matt Hulsman

Yield: 4 servings.

4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 green onions, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk, warm
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces lump crabmeat
8 ounces fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 ounces bay scallops
3 tablespoons dry sherry
Salt to taste

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-low heat; add the chopped green onion and celery. Sauté, stirring, until onion and celery are translucent.

Add the flour to the butter and vegetables and stir until flour is well incorporated. Continue stirring for about 2 minutes.

Slowly stir in the warmed milk and continue stirring until thickened. Add the white pepper, tomato paste, and heavy cream. Stir in the crab, shrimp, scallops, and sherry. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until scallops are white and shrimp is just pink.

Remove soup from heat and let cool to room temperature. In batches, add soup to blender and pulse on low speed for 10 to 20 seconds. There should still be bits of seafood visible.

Add soup back to saucepan, add 2 tablespoons butter, and simmer. Add salt to taste. Serve hot, with crusty bread.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.