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Feb 13, 2014 08:26 AM

Lobster Bisque

Making Lobster Bisque and Ribeyes for my husband on Valentine's Day - I need an awesome lobster bisque recipe, whose got one??

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  1. I do! I do! I just can't locate it at the moment. It was from Gourmet Magazine from decades ago - broiled lobster and the pounded shells used for stock, white wine, fresh cream, a hint of tarragon and dry sherry. I will search.
    Just don't use canned lobster. It's an abomination not befitting a token of love.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chefpaulo

      Sounds delicious! I had no idea you could even buy canned lobster - gross! It's Valentine's Day, so no cheap substitutions on my end.

        1. re: IOPfoodie

          This one sounds more complex than the one I recall - probably from the late '70s. I recall much more cream, no corn starch and (ulp!) no head of garlic. I'll keep looking in the files. And a three pound lobster??? Best of luck without taking out a second mortgage.

      1. I worked in many French restaurants during my career. Most everyone used Sauce Americaine (lobster sauce) with heavy cream & butter to make lobster bisque. This is a very laborious & costly undertaking. Awhile ago a friend asked me for a recipe. This is what I sent her:
        Here’s a fairly simple method that yields great results. Most lobster bisque recipes have you make a stock with the carcasses first then thicken it with a flour and butter roux, add dairy then strain. My method is easier, makes a better, more elegant soup but it is more expensive to make.

        Boil about 5# whole, live lobsters (chicks or culls are cheapest-but you picked the wrong week to make this) then shock in ice water. Remove meat from shell.You'll be using only a small amount of the meat for garnish so reserve the rest for another application.
        Break up the lobster carcasses as much as possible using a mallet, hammer, or even a food processor. I also add if I have shrimp shells that I’ve frozen and saved
        In a soup pot sauté shells in butter for a few minutes, add a diced medium onion, a diced carrot, a diced rib of celery and few whole cloves of garlic, a bit of tomato paste then add a cup of dry white wine or dry sherry. When the liquid has reduced by about one third add two quarts heavy cream and one quart half and half. Bring to a low boil then simmer for about twenty minutes, stirring to prevent scorching. Strain soup through a sturdy metal strainer pressing down on the mass to extract as much liquid as possibe, then strain a second time through a finer strainer. When serving, reheat the soup in a pan and finish by whisking in whole sweet butter and add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with lobster meat. Some people add a bit of cayenne pepper or fresh tarragon.
        Edit-I forgot the brandy. Usually added & flambeed before the other liquids are added.

        8 Replies
        1. re: zackly

          We use Jasper Whte's recipe from his book, Lobster at Home.

          My wife made a batch on Sunday and will finish Friday for Valentine's Day.

          1. re: zackly

            YO! This is more like it! Mir poix the veggies and slow cook with the pounded shells for a rich stock. And I prefer the dry Sherry over a white wine - but just a hint to not overpower the lobster.

            1. re: zackly

              This sounds lovely and not hard at all. It's too bad when people assume that because it's special it's complicated. Thanks for writing this out, z.

              1. re: zackly

                I make a point of reserving some liquid from boiled lobsters and freezing it, then using as a starter the next time, so I have some very concentrated lobster stock ready to go at a moment's notice. I recommend that you start doing so for the next time.

                If you have a SS food processor or juicier, you can pulverize the shells, Don't try it in one with plastic parts.

                1. re: law_doc89

                  Do you reduce the liquid before freezing? I would think it wouldn't be "very concentrated" otherwise.

                2. re: zackly

                  I've got a stash of homemade lobster stock in my freezer. If I wanted to make lobster bisque, how should I proceed?

                  1. re: zackly

                    I'll just tack this on here as this is such a great sounding recipe. AFAIK, bisques don't have "chunks" in them. They're pureed and, as you say, a little of the meat is added for garnish. Otherwise, isn't it "chowder"?

                  2. Buy a canned or refrigerated lobster bisque, and add the meat from a 11/2 pounder you cook. You will kill yourself trying from scratch, especially if it sucks. Concentrate more on those ribeyes!

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: Veggo

                      Oh come now. This is the home cooking board. Buy canned?

                      Take your time and be careful and it won't suck and will be lightyears beyond canned. You can also make it a day ahead and warm it up to serve instead of trying to do lots of things at once.

                        1. re: law_doc89

                          Not understanding why this link has anything to do with making bisque.

                        2. re: ccbweb

                          My few attempts were not as good as the Bookbinders canned. OP is making a big investment of time and expense for just a soup course to accompany a steak dinner. I surrender, and admit to my slothfulness and lack of skills. Doing some quick math with the recipes here, it can be a $50 bowl of soup.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            You are correct - this will not be a cheap dish to prepare. We'll still be spending less than if we went out! And I like a challenge and have always wanted to try and make it at home. Steak is so easy to prepare, I have to have something else to do in the kitchen!

                            1. re: IOPfoodie

                              Hey, it's Valentine's Day! I bought two whole foie gras to celebrate my 65th birthday. Money well spent.

                              Zackly's recipe sounds rich and wonderful and totally straightforward.

                              1. re: IOPfoodie

                                You have a great attitude. I simply wanted to keep you from driving down a long road, then off a cliff.
                                FYI, I had lobster bisque from scratch at Berns in Tampa last month, I score it 95. With some regularity, I enjoy the lobster bisque at Anna Maria Oyster Bar (there are 3 ) and I have been suspicious that it is SO consistent. I score it a 92. I finally pried it out of a server there that they start with "a base".
                                The extra 3 points for a perfect scratch version is a lot of work, and I hope yours is delicious!
                                HVD to you both!

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Howdy Veggo,

                                  I'm a big fan of the sea roach. Here on the Sou'west Shore of Connecticut we take 'em for granted. The freezer is always full of carcasses so bisque isn't that big a deal for us. Besides, what else do you do when you're snowed in? Jasper White is the man.

                                  We spent Super Bowl week in Amelia Island (Old Town, not the fancy southern end) and had fantastic local shrimp and crab. Lots of pirates there. Sure wish I was there now.

                                  Edited to add: the shrimp and grits at Joe's Bistro on Amelia is a keeper. My kind of lunch.

                                  Be good.

                                  1. re: steve h.

                                    Hey Steve, Y'all shamed me into kicking up dinner a notch. I had only my Protestant chicken salad ( w/grapes and walnuts), avocado, and Mexican beer.
                                    I just hit the market for 4 cans of Bar Harbor Lobster Bisque (haven't seen Bookbinders for a while), a 3 year aged gouda, and a couple La Crema chardonnays ,so I can make this a legitimate meal. I'll advise at a later time about the Bar Harbor Lobster Bisque.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      Life's too short. Good call on the wine.

                                  2. re: Veggo

                                    Good to know - I bought 5 small tails, so I'll make the stock today with a couple of the shells and the shrimp shells to make the base. And then roast the remaining shells tomorrow. Sounds redundant but I want to be sure it has that rich lobster flavor!

                                2. re: Veggo

                                  Veggo, It's expensive, especially around Valentine's Day, when roses, lobster, filet mignon & Champagne all are at premium prices but you do get to use most of the lobster meat for another dish so it's not that expensive As far as refrigerated soups go, there are some very good ones (Legal Seafood, Blount) and I'm sure you could make an excellent bisque with the addition of a few ingredients, primarily cream & butter. I've done everything the long, expensive, classical way but now I'm all about convenience, brevity and thrift. If I have a strength as a chef it is that generally I can give you a recipe/method that you would score 90% in half the time & expense of creating a 100% product. But it is fun to go all out sometimes.

                                  1. re: zackly

                                    I love your recipe cause you have wonderful ingredients but don't get all fussy.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      c oliver---that the problem with cookbook authors & celebrity chefs. They have to "personalize" recipes or be accused of plagiarism so they add extra, unnecessary ingredients to simple, tried & true recipes. Reinventing the wheel so to speak.

                            2. I would look for James Patterson's recipe if you can find it. Simple, classic and perfect. Stretch your stock flavor with shrimp shells / heads from your freezer if you got 'em.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: e_bone

                                Agreed. Someone typed it up on this random message board:

                                Made it a couple of weeks ago, it's wonderful.

                              2. I've not made this but like the fact that most of the lobster is pureed and then some reserved meat is added as garnish. To me, a bisque of any sort doesn't have chunks at all.