A big shout out thanks to sons James and Jon for running out to Santa Cruz Island for a little night diving to bring home some fresh live lobster as the season just opened.
I was lucky enough to get 4 of 7 of the bounty caught! I did negotiate to get the shells and bodies of all, but I had to promise bisque.
I made good on my promise three days later. My office reaped the rewards at our Wednesday lunch meeting. Not one drop left!
The best bisque in town locally here in Ventura is at Cafe Fiore’s. The best lobster bisque I have had is made by Jon Minken, my nephew-in-law.
Sorry Jon, mine is pretty good. Okay, enough humble pie, some have called it the best soup they have ever had!
2-4 live lobster
1 pint of heavy cream (more if you are going to use as garnish)
3 sticks of celery
3 chopped carrots
1/3 of a cup of chopped onions
1 14 oz can of tomato sauce
3 bayT leaves
1 tsp saffron
1 tsp Smoked paprika
2 tsp of salt
1 of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 -1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp of black pepper
1/4 cup dry sherry
Pour 5 quarts of cold water into a large pot. Once the water has reached a fierce boil, carefully add the live lobster, placing it head first into the boiling water.
Cover the pot with the lid, return to the boil and then start timing. Cook the lobster for 12 minutes on a reduced heat.
Once the lobster shell has turned bright red after the 12 minutes, remove the lobster from the stock and place it in a dish to cool and so that the juices are caught and can be added to the liquid.
Continue to simmer the broth, leaving the pot uncovered.
Once the lobster has cooled, remove the meat from the shell, chop it up into pieces and keep it to one side.
Place the shell and lobster parts (not the meat) into a 400 degree oven and roast for 40 minutes. In a separate roasting pan, add olive oil, chopped onion, celery and carrots for 40 minutes.
After roasting the lobster parts and shells, break up and add to simmering broth.
Simmer for 30 minutes until reduced by 1/3.
Strain the broth to remove the shells.
Pour broth back into the pot and continue to simmer, add roasted vegetables, saffron, bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer continuing to reduced by half. Remove bay leaves.
Then, add the tomato sauce and mix together. Cook for another minute.
Use a stick blender until broth is smooth. Reduce the heat.
Add the cayenne pepper, salt, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and mix together and then simmer for a further 10 minutes, making sure that you stir the broth occasionally.
Slowly stir in the heavy cream and slightly turn up the cooking temperature. Add 1/4 cup dry sherry.
Add any extra seasoning if required and then add the reserved chopped lobster meat to the soup. Cook for a further few minutes, then serve hot.
Garnish with warm cream, bits of lobster, smoked paprika.
Serve with fresh french bread, or croutons.
If you want to serve fancy for a small dinner party, prepare the bisque except without the cream the day ahead. The day of the party, finish the bisque, ladle into bowls and top with puff pastry.
Ingredients for 5 servings
– 4 cups Lobster bisque (see above)
– 10 small medallions of lobster
– 9 oz. green asparagus tips
– 250 g (9 oz.) puff pastry
– 1 beaten egg
Pour into ovenproof bowls; place 2 lobster medallions on each serving; divide the asparagus among the bowls;
on a floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry; form 5 discs, each 10 cm (4”) in diameter, or slightly larger than the diameter of the bowl.
Cover each bowl with a pastry disc; brush with beaten egg yolk and press the pastry onto the side of the bowl; if you wish, you can decorate the top with pastry cut-outs from the trimmings. Dip them into egg yolk first so they will stick to the puff pastry lid.
Place into a preheated 425° F oven for about 12 minutes or until the pastry is nicely golden; serve immediately.