Monday, May 15, 2017

Browned Butter-Poached Lobster Bisque

I often make my own celebration dinners. I know, that seems strange to some. But, for me, cooking is relaxing. So, on Mothers' Day, I headed to the store with the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf and tried to figure out a menu for our feast. He spotted the lobsters in the case and declared: "Lobster Bisque!" Done.

Over dinner we did discuss what soups get the designation of 'bisque' and which do not. I had told them that many people just use the word because it sounds more fancy than 'soup'. But they don't realize that it's not really a bisque unless it includes seafood, usually shellfish. This version includes lobster and prawns. And to really make the seafood decadent, I poach it in browned butter. And, instead of thickening this with a roux, it's thickened with potatoes so it's gluten-free and Jake can enjoy it with us.

Browned butter - also known as beurre noisette - is one of those magical ingredients that transforms the flavor of just about anything be it sweet or savory. Its nutty taste and aroma are out of this world. And it can add a creative twist to any recipe that includes butter.

  • 8 T butter*
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1/2 C diced organic celery
  • 2 C organic potatoes, cubed
  • 1 pound large shrimp or prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 lobster tails, shelled and cut into large coins
  • 3 C vegetable stock
  • 1 C lobster juice
  • 1 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • toasted baguette slices for serving (I used gluten-free baguette)
  • salt and pepper to taste

*To make beurre noisette: place butter in a pan over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally to be sure the butter is cooking evenly. As the butter melts, it will foam and begin to darken. The color will progress from a pale lemon yellow to golden straw hue and, finally, to a hazelnut brown. Once you achieve the color and aroma you want, pour the beurre noisette into a glass container. The milk solids will continue to brown - and eventually burn - if you leave it in the pan.

In a large souppot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil. Stir in shallots, garlic, and celery. Cook over low to medium heat until the shallots are softened and translucent. 

Stir in the potatoes and pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, approximately 10 minutes. In the meantime, cook your shellfish.

Poach the prawns and lobster coins in the browned butter. Set aside 1 to 2 pieces of lobster per bowl for garnishing.

Spoon the prawns and lobster into the pot. Scrape in the browned butter and pour in the lobster juice. Heat to warm through. Then, in batches, process until smooth. You can use a blender or a food processor. Return the soup to the pot and pour in whipping cream. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat and ladle into individual bowls. Float a toasted baguette slice in the bowl and top with a lobster coin. Serve immediately.

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