What it is: A thick creamy soup flavored with lobster, lobster bisque is a rich and elegant dish. Because the base broth makes use of lobster shells, it’s a good way to get every last bit of goodness from the costly crustaceans.
Where it comes from: The origins of lobster bisque are obscure. Bisques are French, and no doubt seafood bisques of various kinds originated in Europe, but the lobster bisque we see today is made with Maine lobsters. Whoever first applied the French technique to the American shellfish, the soup was well established by 1844, when the recipe appeared in the first Boston Cooking School Cook Book.
What to do with it: Lobster bisque is typically served as an appetizer, traditionally in a two-handled cream-soup cup.
Chef Rick Gresh of David Burke’s Primehouse in Streeterville offers his lobster bisque recipe, just in time for National Lobster Day, Friday, June 15.
David Burke’s Primehouse’s lobster bisque
Chef Rick Gresh
1/8 cup vegetable oil
6-1/2 pounds lobster bodies
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons fennel seed
4 bay leaves
8 sprigs fresh tarragon
3 carrots, roughly chopped
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
7 ribs celery, roughly chopped
4 ounces tomato paste
3 cups brandy
1 gallon water
4 Granny Smith apples, quartered
4 quarts whipping cream
In a large pot, heat vegetable oil until smoking. Add the lobster bodies (and any lobster scraps or frozen shrimp shells you may have) and begin to caramelize slowly. Add the peppercorns, fennel seed, bay leaf and fresh tarragon. Continue to saute for 5 minutes.
Add the carrots, onions and celery and saute until the vegetables start to caramelize. Add the tomato paste and mix in thoroughly. Add the brandy and cook until evaporated. Add the water and bring to a boil; lower to simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add the cream and apples and bring to a simmer; reduce slowly for about 15 minutes.
Blend roughly with an immersion blender; pass through a strainer; pass one more time through a fine sieve; cool in ice bath. Reheat gently at serving time. Makes about 2 gallons.