I mean, few things taste as good a lobster dipped in butter and lemon, right?
That being said, I’ve never been much of a fan of lobster bisque. Frankly, I don’t get the whole bisque thing, be it lobster, shrimp…whatever. I think it’s the lack of meat that does it for me. Or it could be that it’s too heavy with all the cream. Or too concentrated in fishy flavor.
Anyhoo, I don’t like bisque. But a lot of people do, so I set about trying to do something that captures the bisque flavor profile, just a little more subtle…and with more meat.
- 3 chickens (as in 3 lobsters about a pound each)
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
- 4 stems parsley
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 small shallot, cut very fine (brunoise)
- 2 ounces brandy
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine (pinot grigio works)
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 egg whites
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 5 ounces whole milk
- 1.5 ounces (by weight) flour
- 1.5 ounces (by weight) butter
- extra flour & butter for souffle dishes
- salt & pepper
What To Do with It
Get the store to steam your lobsters. Seriously. Nothing magic about boiling a lobster when you’re not going to dip it in butter.
Cut the tails off your lobsters. Put the heads (with legs & claws still on, unless you just want to torture yourself) in a braising pan and add about 2-3 cups water (enough to come about 3/4 the way up the lobsters). Add the carrots, onion, celery, parsley & bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer 45 minutes. Strain & reserve the liquid. Throw the rest away. You just made lobster stock.
While that’s cooking, remove the meat from the tails and mince it.
In that same braising pan, burn the brandy (set it afire). Add back your lobster stock, and put in the wine and shallots. Add a couple dashes of salt and a bit of pepper.
Taste it. You’re going for the flavor profile here, not the finished product. Now reduce that down to about 1/2 cup. Strain and reserve.
Preheat an oven to 375.
In a saucier or stock pot, make a roux with the flour & butter. Add the milk & whisk until it thickens. Add the egg yolks (whisk). Add the cream cheese (whisk). Add the lobster meat.
Whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold into the souffle base. Pour all that into 8 ramekins that are well-buttered and lightly dusted with flour. Put those in 2 pans partially filled with hot water (about 1/2 way up the ramekins). Bake 25 minutes.
Serve with champagne (what else, after all?)