What exactly is a bisque? According to my Larousse dictionary it’s a shellfish soup thickened with pureed shells. Julia Child also makes mention of pureeing the lobster shells to thicken the bisque. I daresay you need a very high speed blender to accomplish that task. So back to the drawing board I went, looking for an easy lobster bisque to show you. Full disclosure: you will have to put in a little time with this one, in order to extract all that delicious flavor from the shells, but I promise it’s not hard, and well worth the effort. This easy lobster bisque tastes even better the next day, so the perfect make-ahead for your Valentine dinner. Click this link: to see more detail on making this recipe at home by our Seasonal Chef.
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Sanding sugar (to make your own combination, stir together equal portions of favorite-colored sugars)
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium-low and beat in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour and salt on low just until incorporated.
- Using an ice-cream scoop sized a little larger than a tablespoon, drop dough, onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Roll each ball of dough until perfectly round, then flatten each cookie between the palms of your hands. Carefully place each flattened piece of dough on the parchment-lined baking sheets, two inches apart.
- Decorate the cookies liberally with sanding sugars.
- Bake until edges and bottoms are just barely starting to turn golden, 12-15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
Easy Lobster Bisque at Home
4 large and 6 smaller servings
2 – 7 oz lobster tails, thawed if frozen
8 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup red onion, chopped
1 inner celery stalk, chopped, 1/4 cup
1 carrot, peeled and chopped, 1/4 cup
1 garlic clove chopped
Ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup creamed sherry
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
1/2-3/4 cup of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon dry tarragon or 1 tablespoon of fresh
Inner celery leaves, for garnish
Sliced chives, for garnish
1. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and add the tails. Simmer for 8 minutes. Remove the tails and turn off the heat. Skim off the white proteins in the water.
2. In another pot sauté the onion, celery, carrot and garlic in the butter until soft. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
3. While the vegetables are cooking carefully remove the tail meat and crunch up the shells a little. Chop up the tail meat and set aside. You should have about 1 – 1 1/4 cups of lobster. 4. Once the vegetables start of caramelize a bit add the tomato paste and sherry and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the shells and 6 cups of the cooking water. Bring to a very low simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes.
4. Strain the solids and shells using a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze to get all the broth out. Add the broth to a clean pot. You should have about 5 cups.
5. Make a slurry with the cornstarch using some of the broth. Bring the broth to a low simmer and add the slurry. Whisk to combine. Once the broth thickens turn down the heat and add the cream, whisking to incorporate. Add the tarragon and taste for seasoning. You will most likely need to add salt and a pinch of pepper.
6. Place 1/4 cup of lobster meat in the bowl and pour the bisque over. Garnish with tender celery leaves and chives. Serve warm.