A bisque is a smooth, velvety seasoned soup that uses a strained broth of crustaceans such as lobster, langoustine, crab, shrimp or crayfish. To make this delicious smoky, flavor-packed lobster bisque at home, Harmons Cooking School chef Callyn Harding recommends special ordering whole lobsters, or just use lobster tails, she says.
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 chopped lobster shells (bodies and tail shells)
3 whole, fresh corn cobs cut into quarters
½ cup chopped fennel
½ cup chopped celery
2 chopped shallots
1 chopped leek (white and green) thoroughly cleaned
½ cup chopped parsnips
sprig of thyme
6 whole black peppercorns
1 cup dry vermouth
8 cups water
3 cups fresh corn kernels
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups half & half
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
Lobster tails, raw and chopped into 1-inch chunks
Fresh chives, tarragon and parsley for garnish (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat. Add lobster shells and corn to the pot. Sauté until fragrant.
Add fennel, celery, shallots, leeks, parsnips, thyme and peppercorns to the lobster shell mixture. Continue to stir until vegetables have softened and begun to turn golden.
Deglaze your stock pot by adding the dry vermouth, scraping off any bits that might have attached to the bottom of your pan. Allow the vermouth to boil and be absorbed by the vegetable mixture.
Once the vermouth has been absorbed, add water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 1 hour, covered.
Strain stock, reserving the liquid and disposing of the solids.
In an enamel-bottom pot, heat the butter until bubbling and golden, not brown. Add corn kernels and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove half of the sautéed corn and set aside.
Add the reserved lobster stock to the pan with the corn and blend with an immersion blender until creamy.
Add half & half and smoked paprika and heat to a low simmer.
Add lobster chunks and reserved corn to the bisque and continue to simmer until lobster is just cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with your choice of fresh herbs. I prefer a combination of chives, parsley and tarragon.
Chef harding’s Tips:
When cleaning the lobster tails, use kitchen shears to cut down the inside of the tail. The shell lining on the underside is very thin and easy to cut through. Once a cut has been made, with both hands the tail can be cracked, exposing the meat.
Make a double batch of the lobster stock and freeze for another soup or sauce. This will last for up to six months in the freezer and three to four days in the refrigerator.