The history of Lobster Bisque is quite surprising. Not too long ago, lobster was considered a mark of poverty or as food for indentured servants in Maine, Massachusetts, and the Canadian Maritimes. Servants even specified in employment agreements that they would not eat lobster more than twice per week.
But thanks to the French, the dear, sweet French and their classic French cuisine, it has been elevated to one of the most luxurious bisques ever created. I have this recipe in my arsenal and now would love to share it with you. This dish is a very rich Lobster Bisque, so it should be served in small portions. Too much can overpower your taste buds.
If you want to impress your guests, indulge or just have to make a grand, apologetic overture, this recipe is for you.
Caramelizing the vegetables is a critical step to making this recipe work. Make sure you cook on a low, slow flame. I would also recommend using a wooden spoon.
I pan seared the lobster tails on low heat with butter and fennel sprigs. In the recipe, I suggest poaching the tails in butter, but if you feel that's too time consuming or just too rich, skewer the tails and cook them slowly for two minutes, rotating every minute.
Now...finally, cognac cream. Oh, my. The creme just takes it over the top. If you are not a fan of cognac, may I suggest a good quality brandy to fold into your whipped cream. Remember a little goes a long way with this recipe.
Viola!! Lobster Bisque has now gone from being shunned to the center stage of the world.
Katherine's Take: I'm still eating. Get back to you in a bit. Oh, one thing. Put your kids or pets to bed. You're going to want to eat this undisturbed.
Lobster Bisque with Cognac Cream
- 3 whole onions chopped
- 4 whole shallots chopped
- 1 bunch celery chopped
- 3 bulbs fennel chopped
- 2 whole carrots chopped
- 12 whole bay leaves whole
- 6 whole leeks chopped
- 1 cup tomato paste quality
- 2 quarts white wine quality
- 2 cups grapeseed oil quality
- 1 bunch thyme
- 1 bunch tarragon
- 3 pounds lobster fresh
- 1/2 pound shrimp shells
- 1 tablespoon saffron quality
- 4 quarts water cold
- 2 whole lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup heavy cream quality
- 1/2 cup cognac quality
- 1 1/2 cup butter quality
- preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl add shrimp and lobster shells. Coat with olive oil, about 1/2 cup. Roast for 20 minutes.
- In a separate bowl add all chopped vegetables, 4 tbs. kosher salt and coat with 1 cup olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes.
- Fold tomato paste to vegetables. Be sure all vegetables are coated then roast for another 20 minutes in oven.
- In a large pot add both shrimp shells, lobster shells and roasted vegetables.
- Bring to medium heat saute for 5 minutes then deglaze with white wine and cook for 10 minutes. Stirring constantly.
- Next add 4 quarts water, bay leaves, thyme, tarragon, and saffron.
- Reduce heat to low simmer and reduce by half. About 1 1/2 hours.
- Once reduced by 1/2 in small batches add shells, broth, and vegetables to Vita-Mix blender and blend on high for 5 minutes.
- Once all has been blended pass it through a chinois, fine china cap and or cheesecloth.
- Make a small batch of roux (1/4 cup flour 1/2 cup melted butter). Add to medium size pot on medium heat, cook 1 minute then slowly whisk in lobster broth and 3 tbs. cognac then reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes.
- Using a micro-fine blade or box grater fold in 2 lemons and chop 1/2 bunch fresh tarragon.
- Once meat has been gently removed from shells and De-veined , place in a medium size pot and add 1 cup melted European style butter (quality), 1 shallot chopped, 1 clove garlic crushed, 5 sprigs tarragon. On low heat poach the lobster for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let the lobster meat sit in butter for another 3 minutes. Slice lobster tail on a bias or skewer as pictured.
- In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup heavy cream until you have whipped cream, micro fine 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, then fold in 1 tbs. quality cognac. Serve one scoop over soup.