Lobster Bisque

  • 2 1/2- to 2-pound (6.8- to 9-kg) live lobsters
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 tablespoons (50 mL) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) brandy
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine
  • 1 CUP (250 mL) mirepoix (celery, carrots and onions) , finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 6 parsley sprigs
  • 1 sprig tarragon, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup (250 mL) crushed tomatoes (or tomato puree)
  • 1 1/2 quarts (1.4 L) chicken or fish stock
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons (25 mL) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) flour kneaded together with 1/4 cup (50 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) cream
  • 8 1/4inch (6-mm) thick baguette slices, toasted
  • 4 tablespoons (60 mL) sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons (25 mL) minced chives

    Stun the lobsters by piercing them through the head with a knife, at the centre point just about a half-inch behind the eyes. Cut the lobsters up as follows: each claw cut in half, arms split; body quartered; tail split in half. (When cutting, place a pan underneath the cutting board, so that any juices that run out of the lobster can be added to the vegetables during the sweating.)
   Saute the shallot and the lobster pieces in the oil, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, until the shells are bright red (about six minutes). Add the brandy, stand back from the stove and carefully ignite. Allow to cook a minute or so, then extinguish with the white wine. Remove lobster with a slotted spoon, and set aside to cool.
    Crack the shells, carefully remove the meat and cut into 1/4inch (6-mm) pieces. Crack all of the lobster shells into one-inch (25-mm) pieces, place in a food processor and pulse into even smaller pieces. Set the meat and shells aside. Add the mirepoix, garlic, parsley, tarragon and bay leaf to the pan, and sweat over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the chopped shells, tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper, and simmer very slowly for 30 minutes.
    Place some of the hot liquid in a bowl, and beat in the butter and flour paste. Return this paste to the simmering ingredients and blend thoroughly. Simmer another 15 minutes. Strain the bisque through a medium-holed strainer, using the ladle to pound the solids, extracting every last bit of liquid. Return to the pan, add the cream, and adjust seasoning. Add the diced lobster meat, and serve garnished with the baguette slices spread with sour cream and sprinkled with chives.

From The Soup Bible by David Paul Larousse (John Wiley and Sons, Inc.).