Lobster bisque. This is soup for when you want to impress. Creamy. Rich. Luxurious. It’s everything wrong with French cooking. And it’s everything right with French cooking. Wonderful stuff indeed.
Lobster bisque is perfect for a really fancy dinner party
I love making soup when I entertain. Everybody loves a good soup. And it’s a first course you can make ahead. Like before lunch. Takes the pressure off the cook.
And lobster bisque is seriously fancy fare. This isn’t your run of the mill soup. It has lobster in it after all. I don’t know about you but I save lobster for when I want to impress. And this soup impresses.
This is a simpler lobster bisque
The traditional approach is a lot of work. Cook whole lobsters. Shell them. Flambe the shells. Make lobster stock. Then start making soup.
That’s the completely over the top way to do it. It’s amazing. The depth of flavour is almost surreal. But it’s a lot of prep.
And have you ever smelled lobster stock cooking? That’s something best done outside. You do not want your house stinking of lobster boil when your guests arrive.
Unless you have an industrial strength hood fan it’s not something I recommend.
This is a scaled back version. It’s not trivial as far as soup goes. But it is way easier. And you don’t stink up your house.
A few simple substitutions make this recipe approachable
I’m not usually about cutting corners. Mostly I go for it. But in this case there are two little tricks I use. Clam juice instead of lobster stock. No smell. Briny ocean flavours. Almost a no-brainer really.
Canned, frozen lobster is the other one. It’s pretty good stuff. Not the same a whole lobster. But it still has that sweet, fresh taste of lobster.
Not like you’d imagine anything from a can would be. Don’t know why it works. But it does. Way better than that canned crab stuff. That’s just nasty.
After that it’s pretty straight forward. No real surprises. Layers of flavour. Aromatic vegetables and mushrooms for an earthy note.
Tomato paste, white wine and sherry layer on the complexity. A hint of cayenne for a bit of bite. And lots of cream of course. This is fine dining after all.
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup shallots diced
- 1/4 cup carrots diced
- 3/4 cup white mushrooms diced
- 1/4 cup celery diced
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup clam juice
- 12 oz can lobster meat juice reserved
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup sherry
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream 35% milk fat
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- salt to taste
- Heat a sauce pan or pot large enough to hold all ingredients over medium low heat.
- Melt the butter. Add the shallots, carrots, mushrooms and celery. Cook until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook a minute more.
- Add stock, clam juice and reserved lobster juice and simmer 10 minutes more.
- Separate the larger lobster pieces (claws) and set aside. You should have about 1/2 cup little bits left over.
- Puree the soup along with the 1/2 cup of little bits of lobster. Wipe the pot out. Return the pureed soup to the pot.
- Mix in white wine and sherry and simmer, loosely covered for about 30 minutes.
- Add cayenne. Simmer 5 minutes more.
- Add whipping cream and heat through.
- Adjust salt.
- Add large lobster pieces and serve.
- Garnish with a bit of paprika or piment d'esplette if you can get it.