One of the perks of living in Nova Scotia is the seafood, if you like seafood. If not, I suggest you click away right now. This week cooked lobsters were on sale for about $3 at my Superstore. I bought one and wondered, can you make lobster bisque with one lobster? Turns out you can! This recipe was inspired by Bob Blumer's Nova Scotia Lobster Bisque Recipe but I changed it a lot.
The hard part is getting the lobster meat out of the lobster. I wish there was an easy way but there isn't. You either smash the tender parts of the shells with the back of a heavy knife or use nut crackers, then pull out the meat with either your fingers or for the tight spot, I use a skewer. I do not use the main body at all in this recipe, I just do not know what to do with it, but I do reserve the rest of the shells for the stock making. I put the meat in the fridge until the stock is done.
I always wondered what gives lobster bisque its bite. Turns out you use a lot of garlic and peppercorns. In this bowl I prepared at least four garlic cloves (split in half), 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tbsp of peppercorns and some fresh parsley, chopped. You also need: 1 celery stalk finely diced, 2 carrots finely diced and 1 tbsp of tomato paste.
Heat a little olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the veggies and cook for eight minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cook for a minute and then add lobster shells, as well as 2 tbsp of brandy. Carefully flambé the brandy.
Can you see the flame? I used a long lighter and I am sure there are no little hairs left on my left hand. I am no longer a flambé virgin but wow, I am so lucky I moved my hand just in time! After that calms down, add half a cup of white wine and reduce.
Bob uses vegetable stock but I had some shrimp bouillon cubes so I made 4 cups of stock and added it slowly to the pot while stirring. Add garlic and herbs. Bring to a simmer and gently cook for 30 minutes. Make sure to skim away the foamy impurities that come to the surface with a ladle.
Strain bisque into another soup pot, pressing down with a ladle to get every last drop. Simmer and add a quarter cup of heavy cream. Season to taste.
This recipe makes two bowls of soup so put half the lobster meat on the bottom of each bowl and laddle the lobster bisque on top.
For me, this is heaven. Lobster bisque is one of my favourite dishes in the whole world. It is true cooking alchemy and I do appreciate that it uses every ounce of flavour the lobster has to offer. If you think it is weird to use the shells to make the stock, remember that beef and chicken stock is made with bones.
So flavourful and rich, not something to eat every day but when lobster is in season and such a deal, how can one resist taking advantage of this culinary gold?