On a recent dive, my boyfriend and I managed to nab a very large cray (in season and legal here is west australia). The cray was big enough to feed the two of us on three separate occasions, the last being a lobster bisque!
A bisque is a great way to use up those parts of a lobster or crab that you would normally throw out such as the head and the leftover shell from the tail and legs. This recipe is fairly traditional but I added in a few more spices and cut down massively on the heavy cream, relying instead on arborio rice to give it creaminess.The rice gets blended up along with everything else at the end of the recipe resulting in a rich and flavor-packed bisque that will keep you coming back for more.
The real key to making a great bisque is to make a great stock. The stock is the time consuming part of this recipe but get the stock right, take your time and love it lots and your bisque will sing!
Lobster Stock Ingredients
The shells of 2-3 lobsters, meat removed and reserved (about 3.5 pounds in total, doesn’t need to be exact)
2 onions, thinly sliced.
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
2 sprigs thyme
Lobster Bisque Ingredients
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalked, chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed
1.5 ounces tomato paste
1 sprig thyme
1/2 Tablespoon sweet paprika
2 Tablespoons arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons butter
juice of 1/2 lemon
parsley to garnish
salt and pepper to taste
1) Preheat oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit
2) Remove meat from the lobster shells. If using the head of the lobster, split head in half and remove the meat and gills. Rinse the shells thoroughly
3) Crush up the lobster shells as much as you can and combine all of the ingredients listed for the stock and place in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.
3) Roast the lobster mixture for about 30-45 minutes or until fragrant and lobster shells are pink and onions slightly caramelized
4) Place the whole mixture into a stock pot and cover with water
5) Let mixture cook on a light simmer until it has reduced by half
6) Strain the mixture and reserve
7) In a pot, drizzle oil and add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Let cook on low heat until the onions are translucent. Make sure that nothing burns or browns because this will effect the color of your soup
8) Once onions are translucent, add in the tomato paste and rice. Cook the tomato paste for about 2 minutes or until the paste no longer has that sharp, raw tomato smell.
9) Add in wine to deglaze your pot, make sure to get all the tomato bits off the bottom by gently pushing a wooden spoon along the bottom of the pot
10) Reduce wine by half and then add in lobster stock
11) Let this simmer away for 1 hour
12) In batches, blend the soup until smooth and return to pot (you can strain it again if you want to, I did not)
13) Add in the butter and cream and season with salt, pepper, paprika and lemon juice to your liking.
14) You can add your reserved lobster meat as a garnish or save it for another meal. It is a great bisque on it’s own with a hunk of fresh bread.