Saturday, March 1, 2008

Shrimp Bisque

Perhaps it's because of my culinary training or maybe it's just my love of all things creamy, but to me, there are few words sexier than the word "bisque". It tempts me with it's promise of comfort on a cold day or the fresh taste of seafood on a hot summers night. Bisque is one of those foods that coats your mouth and fills it with flavors both intense and subtle, and is always (if made right) delicious.

The most important aspect of building the flavor of this bisque is having a highly flavored, good quality fish stock. I used lobster bodies as my base. To achieve a rich, deep color, begin with a good brown mirepoix by fully caramelizing the vegetables.

2 fl oz Melted Butter, preferably clarified.
1 C. Mirepoix, small dice
1 # Shrimp Shells
1 Clove Garlic, chopped
1 oz Tomato Paste
2 fl oz Brandy
6 fl oz White Wine
2 qt Fish Stock

Using cheese cloth make a sachet* with:
2 t. Thyme
1 T. Peppercorns
4 Parsley Stems
8 oz Heavy Cream
Salt & Pepper TT
Cayenne Pepper TT
8 oz Shrimp


1. Caramelize mirepoix & shrimp shells in the butter.
2. Add garlic and tomato paste and saute lightly.
3. Add Brandy & flambe (Do this very carefully-if you don't want to set it on fire, allow it to boil for a minute or so)
4. Add wine and deglaze pan. Reduce the liquid by 1/2.
5. Add stock and sachet bag and simmer, 1 hr.
6. Strain soup, discarding all of the solids and sachet.
7. Return to pan and add cream. Season with S&P and Cayenne.
8. Serve in 4 oz bowls, adding cooked shrimp as a garnish.

I cooked my shrimp in a simple court bouillon, which is:

White Wine
Pickling Spices (Can be bought in most stores)
Lemon Slices

It gave the shrimp an added kick of flavor, which is important since they are a garnish and not part of the body of the soup. If prepared correctly, your bisque should be rich and flavorful, and deep in color.

*A sachet is a small bag made out of cheesecloth that is filled with herbs and spices and used to add flavor to soup, stews, stocks and sauces.


Mo said...

For this, I'd risk anaphalactic shock!

crazy working mom said...

I LOVE the header! :)

Wickedly Cool Bean said...

I am loving your site!!! I scrolled through a bit, but your 'bisque' post was classic! I LOVE bisque!!! i am soo going to try this out! You are now one of my faves! Have a great weekend!