This past weekend I decided to make something I haven’t attempted in over a decade — a real lobster bisque. After wiping various explosions of orange goo off every surface in the kitchen, I now remember why I don’t attempt this too often. But it is kind of fun for a big project. Here’s what we did:
Step 1: Obtain a whole bunch of lobster bodies and rinse them well. Chase away cats.
Step 2: Cut lobster bodies into pieces, removing the eyes, stomachs (right behind the eyes) and the lungs (just under the shells of the carapace) with a pair of kitchen shears.
Step 3: Fry lobster bodies in olive oil until they turn lobster red.
Step 4: Add the mirepoix (chopped vegetables), which consists of leeks, onions, celery, carrot, tomato and a bit of garlic. Fry it well. Add some tomato paste to the pan and fry that, too.
Step 5: Prepare a bouquet garni of bay leaf, thyme, parsley stem and a good handful of tarragon. Wrap it in cheesecloth and tie with string.
Step 6: After adding the bouquet garni, add fish stock, lobster stock or even some chicken stock. (I used a mix of the last two.) Add about a half cup of rice to serve as a thickener. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour.
Step 7: Now comes the fun part. You have to blend this whole mess, shells and all. If your blender starts making funny sounds, then smack your forehead, stop it, and pull out them semi-mangled bouquet garni. You have to strain the soup through a wire mesh strainer, then give it a second pass through several thicknesses of cheesecloth to catch all the bits of shell.
Step 8: Return to the pot. Season with salt and just a touch of cayenne pepper. Bring to the boil, then finish with cream and cognac or sherry. We went with cognac. Hard core.
The kitty is now allowed back in the kitchen.
- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog