Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lobster Bisque

2012-10-16 08.47.21

Alright, we’ve made it – it’s the final soup! I saved the absolute best for last, so today we’ve got lobster bisque. This rich delicacy has a smooth, creamy texture and a flavor profile that’s both sweet and savory. For the best results, I recommend using a whole, live lobster, rather than one which has been frozen since I’ll be writing the recipe out as though you have a whole one.

If you do choose to go the route of whole, live lobster, don’t boil it alive! The lobster will make an unpleasant sound, and it’s just not particularly humane. Instead, you should simply force your chef’s knife through the back of its head – that sounds even less humane, but it’s actually quick and painless. But that is the price of fine cuisine, is it not? Something has to die to become delicious food for us. And I promise you, your lobster’s sacrifice will not have been in vain, because there’s nothing quite like lobster bisque.

Difficulty: Moderately Tough
Active Prep Time: About 1 hour
Total Prep Time: About 1 hour
Special Equipment: Fine mesh strainer (chinois), food processor or powerful blender, claw/shell crackers
Serves: 2 – 3


  • 1 whole, live lobster (I named mine Lemmy, and boy was he feisty!)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • ½ large carrot
  • ½ leek, whites
  • ¼ onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 fresh tomato
  • 1 bouquet garni
    • 2 parsley stems
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 sprig thyme
    • 1 green leek leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 2 sprigs chervil or parsley
  • ½ cup rice
  • 1½ tablespoons cognac or sherry
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 - 4 cups water
  • 3 - 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ¼ avocado (optional)
  • Cayenne pepper, Salt, to taste



1. Cut lobster in half length-wise, then chop into smaller pieces (keep the tail more or less intact). Sauté in oil until red.

2. When tails are just cooked, remove from the pot, remove meat and set aside. Return the tail shells to the pot.


3. Add shallot, garlic, carrot, leek, onion, and celery to the pot. Cook (sweat) for about 5 minutes. Remove the claws, crack them open and set aside the meat if desired, then return the shells to the pot.


4. Add tomato paste, fresh tomato, bouquet garni (parsley stem, bay leaf, and sprig of thyme wrapped in leek greens), tarragon, chervil (or parsley), and cook for about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook for another 5 minutes.

5. Add cognac (or sherry) to the pot, followed by the white wine. Cook until the liquid has reduced about halfway.

6. Add water to the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked.


7. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Add cream and reduce slightly, then add about a tablespoon of butter.

8. Remove the toughest bits of shell from the pot (knuckles, elbows, claws). Pour the contents of the pot into a food processor or blender (We used Vita-Prep Blenders in class) and puree.

9. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer (chinois) into a clean pot. You will likely need to use a ladle or large spoon to force the mixture through the chinois. Season again as needed.

10. Serve in a warm soup bowl, with chopped tail meat and avocado slices as garnish. If you want to be extra fancy about it, you can also add a few drops of heavy cream.


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