You have to sautÃ© the lobster shells in a heavy cast-iron skillet to get the flavor for your “blue ribbon” winner of a soup. Worth its weight in gold, Lobster Bisque is by far the most elegant of soups, and one that Charlie can’t seem to get enough of. He loves to talk to us about its subtle vegetable and seafood flavors with the sweetest lobster pieces he has ever tasted. Charlie swears that only a cup will do, because its velvety richness is much too sinful for a whole bowl.
Bisque is simply a fancy French name for a smooth and creamy soup that is seasoned with a shellfish purÃ©e and combined with a wonderfully aromatic mixture of cognac, white wine, vegetables, herbs, heavy cream and, of course, tender, sweet lobster.
Most chefs will tell you to make it a day in advance so that the flavors have a chance to meld together and create the essence of perfection that it deserves. Charlie tells us he’s tried a lot of different versions of this wonderful soup-up and down the east coast, but always longs to come home for his own. If you don’t have the time to make your own, Our Lobster Bisque has a beautiful color and texture that is made fresh with sweet Maine lobster, lots of cream and lightly accented with Sherry. This great bisque is sinfully delicious.
Charlie sent us this recipe for lobster bisque we thought we would share with you. Give it a try and let us know if you too are captured by its superb flavor.
YIELD: 8 Servings
1 (2lb) Lobster
1 large Spanish onion, minced
2 medium Carrots, diced
2 ribs Celery, diced
1 each Bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup cognac
1 cup dry sherry
to taste salt
to taste cayenne pepper
¼ cup tomato paste
4 cups fish stock
1 cup heavy cream
METHOD OF PREPARATION:
1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add lobster and cook through, about 8 minutes. Using tongs, transfer lobster to large bowl. Reserve 2 cups cooking liquid. Cool lobsters.
2. Working over large bowl to catch the juices, cut off lobster tails and claws.
3. Crack tail and claw shells and remove lobster meat. Coarsely chop lobster meat, cover and refrigerate. Coarsely chop lobster shells and bodies and transfer to a bowl. Reserve juices from lobster in a large bowl and set aside.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add lobster shells and bodies and sautÃ© until shells begin to brown. Add onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf, and thyme to the pan and sautÃ© until vegetables are just tender. Flame pan with cognac and then add the Sherry.
5. Simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add fish stock, reserved 2 cups lobster cooking liquid and lobster juices. Simmer 1 hour.
6. Strain soup through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth set over a large saucepan, pressing firmly on solids to extract juices. Whisk tomato paste into the soup and the remaining butter and simmer 20 minutes to reduce the liquid.
7. Slowly add the heavy cream to the soup and simmer 5 minutes more.
8. Mix lobster meat into soup and stir to heat through. Ladle soup into bowls and serve.