Lobster Recipes: Lobster Bisque
Lobster bisque is an example of utilitarian cooking at its finest. The goal is to take one ingredient and use as many parts of it as possible in a way that allows it to taste most like its essence. This soup should have a hint of nutmeg, a coat of cognac, but most of all should taste like lobster. One of the most important factors in the soup is the texture, which should be velvety and smooth. This texture is obtained by passing the soup through a fine china cap or chinois. The texture of the soup base, combined with the sliced tail and claw meat and the tart creme fraiche, is a subtle, nuanced beginning to a meal.
Preparation Time: 1 hourServings: 6
3 1 1/2 pound live female lobsters
2 carrots,peeled and small dice
3 stalks celery, small dice
4 medium shallots, small dice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup vegetable oil
6 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
4 tbsp cognac
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup white wine
2 1/2 quarts fish stock (if fish stock is not available, use half strength chicken stock. If you use canned, be careful when salting, as canned stocks are often salty.)
1 6 oz can tomato paste
Bouquet Garni with 2 sprigs fresh tarragon added
pnch of cayenne
cracked black pepper
- Cut the lobster down the center of the head between the eyes. (how to kill a live lobster)
- Leave the tail whole.
- Separate the tail, the head, and remove the claws.
- Keep any juices, the tomalley and the roe in a bowl and refrigerate.
- Heat a 12 inch saute pan on high heat and add the oil.
- Sear the cut pieces of lobster cut side down, and add the tail and claws whole.
- Cook until the shells are bright red and the flesh is almost cooked, about 8 minutes.
- Remove lobster from the pan and set to the side.
- Add 2 tbsp butter to the pan and saute the shallots, carrot, celery and garlic until lightly browned.
- Add tomato paste and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add white wine, cook for 3 minutes, whisking to evenly disperse the tomato. Add fish stock.
- Add bouquet garni and lobster to the pot and bring to a boil, skimming any froth or fat with a 4 oz ladle.
- Season with salt, pepper and cayenne, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove lobster and set aside, remove boquet garni and discard.
- Melt remaining 4 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan, add flour and whisk to make the roux.
- Add reserved lobster juices, tomalley, roe and chopped tarragon, and whisk until smooth.
- Add the cognac to the roux, and then 1/3 at a time, add the roux to the bisque, whisking to remove any lumps before each addition.
- Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Strain through a china cap, using a ladle or rubber spatula to force as much as possible through.
- Add cream and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove meat from lobster and cut into bite size chunks.
- Serve with lobster meat, a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprig of fresh tarragon.