From The Cook's Book of Intense Flavors, Ch.3 Complex Creations: The delicacy of lobster offers a rich taste that goes well served with a rich accompaniment--cream (though it's often butter). The cream smooths out the lobster flavor without obliterating it. Smoked paprika has a deep, intense flavor that makes this combination both complex and delicious. Pull out this rich, flavorful soup for special occasions. For a twist on the lobster bisque, serve it in coffee cups, topped with frothed milk (use and immersion blender), call it "lobster cappuccino" that's sipped from a cup. Don't be intimidated by buying whole lobster! Get your money's worth by saving and/or freezing the shells for stock! If you can't use whole lobster, you can use shrimp instead for a less expensive alternative. (picture is w/out bisque poured around it yet)
- 3 lbs lobsters, whole (2 x 1.5 pounds or substitute 3 lbs unpeeled shrimp)
- 2 cups water, plus more to stop lobster cooking
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for sauteing meat
- 2 stalks celery, rough cut
- 2 carrots, large rough cut
- 1 onion, yellow rough cut
- 4 garlic cloves, rough cut plus more for sauteing meat
- 2 ounces tomato puree
- 1 2⁄3 cups dry white wine (1/2 bottle)
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons flour, all purpose
- 1⁄4 cup brandy
- 1⁄2 cup cream sherry
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Blanch lobsters in salted, boiling water for 12 minutes and then immediately plunge into an ice bath. Crack lobster shells and remove meat. Set meat aside. If using shrimp, peel shrimp and set meat aside.
- Heat rondeau (a large pot, wide and low, with 2 handles) or other large pot to medium and add butter.
- When the butter stops bubbling, add lobster or shrimp shells, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, and tomato puree. Cook until lightly caramelized.
- Deglaze with white wine and add thyme, bay leaves, and water. Cook for at least 30 minute Strain stock and discard solids.
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add to strained liquid and stir to distribute, allowing mixture to thicken.
- Add brandy, sherry, and cream. Season with smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
- Saute lobster or shrimp meat in additional butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. serve with bisque.