Bisque d’Homard

A bisque is a thick shellfish soup, generally made from a puree of lobster or crayfish. Bisque d’Homard (beesk doh-mahr) is a rich, delicious lobster soup.

4 TO

6 SERVINGS

2×1 lb. lobsters

3½ oz. unsalted butter

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 carrot, scraped and finely chopped

2 shallots, finely chopped -«- teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper teaspoon white pepper

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons brandy

8 fl. oz. dry white wine

1 pint fish stock

1 tablespoon sherry pint milk

1 oz. flour

4 tablespoons double cream

If you buy live lobsters, insert a sharp knife between the body and tail of each lobster to sever the spinal cord. (This will kill the lobster.). Place the lobster on its back and split it open to the end of its tail. Spread the body open and remove the small sac at the back of the head and the coral (red roe) if there is any. Discard the sac, but reserve the coral.

Melt 1 ½ ounces of butter in a deep pan over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the celery, carrot, shallots, thyme, cayenne pepper, white pepper and salt. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables are soft but not brown.

Add the lobsters to the vegetables in the pan. Cook over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, turning them frequently with a large spoon.

Heat

2 tablespoons of brandy in a ladle. Set the brandy alight and pour into the saucepan. When the flames have died out, add the wine and stock. Cover and simmer over low heat for

20 minutes.

Remove the lobsters from the pan and place them on a plate. When they are cool, remove the meat from the shells. Cut the meat up very finely, add the sherry and coral to the meat, mix well and set aside.

Pour the contents of the pan through a sieve. Return the liquid to the pan. Mash the vegetables through the sieve with the back of a wooden spoon into the pan. Set aside.

Crush the shells in a blender or mortar and pestle. Add the crushed shells to the stock and wine in the saucepan and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes. Strain the stock through a sieve and set it aside.

In a small saucepan, scald the milk (bring to just under boiling point). Take off the heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. Add the flour and stir to mix with a wooden spoon.

Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the hot milk, a little at a time, stirring continuously, until the mixture is smooth.

Return the pan to the heat, and, still stirring, bring the mixture to the boil.

Add the stock and pureed vegetables to the sauce in the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Raise the heat and, when the soup is bubbling vigorously, add the cream. Stir to mix and add the lobster meat mixture and the remaining brandy. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

This soup may be reheated but it must not be boiled again, because this will impair its delicate flavour.

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