For the absolute best tasting lobster bisque, use only the freshest ingredients. This includes lobsters that shipped the same day that they are caught, and not lobsters that have been stored in a lobster tank for days or weeks where they suffer atrophy. It is important to remember that lobster caught in the icy Gulf of Maine in the morning and shipped express mail to you in the afternoon will be packed full of meat and taste the best.
Lobster bisque is a soup that should have a hint of nutmeg, a coat of cognac, but most of all should taste like lobster. One of the most important factors in lobster bisque is the texture, which should be smooth and velvety. This texture is obtained by passing the soup through a fine china cap or chinois cloth. The texture of the soup base, combined with the sliced tail and claw meat from the lobster, is a subtle, nuanced beginning to any fine meal.
The time to prepare lobster bisque using this recipe is about 1 hour from start to finish.
3 1-1/4 pound live Maine lobsters
2 carrots, peeled and diced into very small chunks
3 stalks celery, small diced
4 medium shallots, small diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 cup vegetable oil
8 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
4 tbsp cognac
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup white wine
2 1/2 quarts fish stock
1 6 oz can tomato paste
Bouquet Garni with 2 sprigs fresh tarragon added
a pinch of cayenne
cracked black pepper and salt to taste
Follow the cooking instructions on how to steam a lobster.
After the lobsters have been steamed, follow these steps:
Leave the tail whole.
Separate the tail, the head, and remove the claws.
Keep the tomalley and the roe in a dish and refrigerate.
Heat a 12 inch saute pan on medium-high heat and add the oil.
Add 3 tbsp butter to the pan and saute the shallots, carrot, celery and garlic until lightly browned.
Add tomato paste and saute for 2 minutes.
Add white wine, cook for 3 minutes, whisking to evenly disperse the tomato. Add fish stock.
Add lobster to the pot and bring to a boil, skimming any froth or fat with a 4 oz ladle.
Season with salt, pepper and cayenne, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Melt remaining 5 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan, add flour and whisk to make the roux.
Add reserved tomalley, roe and chopped tarragon, and whisk until smooth.
Add the cognac to the roux, and then 1/3 at a time, add the roux to the bisque, whisking to remove any lumps before each addition.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Strain through a china cap, using a ladle or rubber spatula to force as much as possible through.
Add cream and season with salt and pepper.
Remove meat from lobster and cut into bite size chunks. Add meat to soup and serve.
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