Shellfish bisque.

I’ll admit, this recipe is a bit over-the-top with an ingredient list a mile long and quite labour intensive for the result but it’s delicious. Deal with it.

You can find lobster shells at the Lobster Man on Granville Island for $3/lb but it’s frozen, so you have to ask for it. I usually collect them from an annual feast at the Water St. Cafe – in April/May of each year, they have a special rate on whole lobster with a side of pasta for $22! (And cheap martinis… It’s really too good to be true.)

You can also use prawns or crab shells for this dish – and keep the heads! That icky stuff – green tamale in lobster and what otherwise looks like brown slurry coming out of spot prawns looks gross but has a ton of flavour and gets all mushed into the soup so you won’t notice it.

1/2 lb shells
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, ciseler
1/2 onion, ciseler
1/2 carrot, paysanne
1/2 celery stalk, paysanne
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 parsley sprigs
2 tarragon sprigs, leaves chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp brandy
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups fish stock
s & p
1/4 cup cream

If using fresh prawns, remove heads from body and shells from tails, reserve tails in the fridge to add at the last minute.

In stock pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add shallots, onions, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, tarragon, and bay leaves. Sweat over medium heat about 5 minutes. Add shellfish and crush. Cook 5-10 more minutes, or until shells are red, if using fresh. Add tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes. Add brandy. Stand away from stove and carefully ignite.

(NOTE: when doing flambe, ensure you are well away from any source of oil or heat. There is little alcohol in this recipe so the flame won’t be high but even oven hoods hold residual cooking grease and have been known to catch. If in doubt, take your pot outside.)

Allow to cook for a minute or so, then extinguish with white wine and stock. Add pepper and simmer, about 45 minutes. Strain and crush solids to ensure all liquid is removed.

In separate sauce pan, make a roux with 1 1/2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp flour. Add strained liquid and whisk to ensure roux is smoothly incorporated. Heat and add cream, adjust seasoning.

Add prawn or leftover lobster/crab meat and serve with chives or tarragon.

Source: Chef Eric Arrouze 911cheferic



One thought on “Shellfish bisque.

  1. Pingback: Lobsters! | tarragon fields

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