In a large saucepan, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the ham, pan-fry until crispy and golden, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and strain, reserving the oil and ham. Return the oil to the pan and heat. Add the onions and saute until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the onions with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, bay leaves and chilies, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes soften. Remove the bay leaves. Using a hand-held blender, puree the soup until smooth. Chill the soup. Add the lemon juice and hot sauce. Season with salt. In a mixing bowl, mix the crabmeat, sour cream, tomatoes, capers and green onions together. Season the salad with salt and pepper. To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish with the crab salad and crispy ham. The soup can be served either chilled or warm.
Recipe is copyright by Ben Baker of Magnolia Grill, 1993