The end of this post is that I hear this dish gave some people diarrhea. The purpose of the post is both an apology and a recipe. I know you really want that recipe now, don’t you.
Lobster bisque is one of those things that restaurants can charge pretty much whatever price they want for, since it’s such a complete pain in the ass to make at home that almost no one does it. It requires planning ahead and a great deal of patience neither of which I had on the specific evening I decided to fulfill this venture. Pretty much nothing came together as it should have, but that is why I have the ‘Disasters’ category. Kitchen schadenfreude if you will. The boyfriend wanted it and I can’t tell him no.
Okay, on the top ten list of most challenging and expensive things to procure at 7pm on a Sunday evening with no notice, 2 pounds of lobster tail has to be up there with a handgun. My first mistake was to stop at Kroger and ask them where they kept the lobster. The high school kid behind the counter looked at me all like “lobster, lol, wut” so I just picked up the rest of the ingredients and headed to the next closest place I thought that I had remembered seeing lobster – Giant Eagle. My options there were, well, frozen lobsters bound together by rubber bands in a cardboard box. They looked like lobster coffins. Although I am an animal eater, I am also an animal lover and steaming a real live lobster was NOT an option for me. One lobster coffin, please! I opted to only use one pound of lobster as it was $14.99/lb. This was probably the first of several mistakes I made.
The recipe was lifted from a Tastespotting search and I picked the one that corresponded to my favorite picture. It can be found here. I am sure the recipe is solid, however, my following of it was not. I don’t blame the recipe, I only blame myself.
As you can see, I was a little distracted.
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 tsp tomato paste
8 ounces unsalted butter
1-1/2 lbs Maine lobster
32 ounces water
2 cups heavy cream
2 bay leaves
½ cup dry sherry
Salt and pepper to taste
Steam lobster in water until done, about 8 minutes. Save stock. Remove lobster meat from shell; set aside. Break up lobster shells, then place them back into the water; simmer over low heat until reduced by half.
Heat half the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic and celery and saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
Add bay leaf, tomato paste and sherry and simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by half.
Add cream and lobster stock and simmer over low heat (Do not boil.) for 30 to 40 minutes or until soup begins to thicken.
Season with salt and pepper. Remove lobster shells and bay leaves. Chop up lobster meat and add to bisque. Stir in remaining butter.
Serve hot with a little crème fraiche and fresh chives.
Let me explain how I fucked this one up. I think we have already covered that I did not buy enough lobster. Making my own lobster stock was a total pain in the ass and it took us nearly an hour to pick out all the lobster shell pieces before we added the rest of the ingredients. Also, I never pay attention enough to know when anything is reduced by half. Due to the fact that there wasn’t enough lobster as it were, the soup turned out almost white, from all the cream. The boyfriend added nearly triple the amount of tomato paste to darken the color and give it a little more zing. It did work, as the FLAVOR of the soup was very very rich and creamy. The appearance of it, however, left much to be desired. It did not thicken nearly as much as I expected (judging by the accompanying photo). We dipped chunks of sourdough bread into it and it was quite good that way.
At least on the way in. Bon appetit!