Lobster stock - whole bodies needed?
I'm making lobster bisque in a couple of weeks, and I have four excellent frozen raw tails that I picked up super-cheap from a reliable source I've used before. I'm in the Midwest, so fresh-caught ain't an option.
I've considered making the bisque over-the-top with four tails' worth of meat divided among six bowls. (The soup is the main dish of our Christmas Eve meal.)
However, the recipe calls for two whole bodies to make the stock. My gut reaction is that if I try to use shells from four tails instead of two whole bodies, I'm going to come up way short in the lobster-flavor department.
All those nooks and crannies of the legs and chest cavity surely hold most of the goodness, right? I believe I'll do best to get two live lobsters from the grocery store tank, and eat the frozen tails on their own another time.
Sound right, or can I get by with the tail shells?
In a pinch, you could buy a bag of frozen medium sized shrimp in shells and use them to make the stock, along with the lobster shells. Also, if you have a Chinese or Southeast Asian shop in your area, you could buy some small dried shrimps or some frozen shrimps with heads still on. Any or all of these will add some body (no pun intended) to your base broth. If live lobsters are available in your grocery store, I'd suggest buying a couple of small ones, tossing them in the pot live, then fishing them out after 10 minutes in the boiling water, twisting off the tails (and claws) to use in another dish, then returning the bodies to the pot. You (and a partner -- if you're feeling generous) can feast on the two tails and 4 claws, while prepping your broth for the next day's bisque.
I tried returning the empty shells of two large (2.25 lb) lobsters to the pot after we decimated the lobsters, in the hopes of making a shellfish stock. Even with the additions of seaweed and onion, the stock was very thin and not impressive. In the end, I chucked it. No harm done, though, since the lobsters were thoroughly enjoyed.