In a large saucepan
over medium heat, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the ham, pan-fry
until crispy and golden, about 2 minutes. Remove the crispy ham from the saucepan using a slotted spoon and set aside. To the oil remaining in the hot saucepan add the onions
and saute until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic
, bay leaves and chiles, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of salt, and thyme and cook for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes soften. Add the water and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer
and continue to cook until the tomatoes are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves
. Using a handheld blender
, puree the soup
until smooth. Chill the soup. Add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and hot sauce, to taste, as desired.
While the soup is chilling, in a mixing bowl, combine the crabmeat, remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, basil
, remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the white pepper
and toss gently to thoroughly combine.
When ready to serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls and divide the crab
salad among the bowls, about 3 tablespoons per bowl. Garnish
each bowl with some of the crispy ham and a tablespoon of the creme fraiche. The soup can be served either chilled or warm.