Bisque is one of the tastiest soups ever. It involves a lot of work, but with a bit of humour you will get through it. Do not use fresh lobster. You can find excellent frozen lobsters which you can use to make soup. If you can’t find lobster, use prawn (shrimp) shells, which also work well.
If raw, briefly cook the lobster(s) in a large pan with water and salt.
Bring the water to a boil, add the lobsters and when the water boils again, remove the lobsters. Leave to cool and remove the tail and claws from the shell. Remove the gills from the lobster, remove the meat from the tail and claws. Set aside the meat in the refrigerator and crush the remaining shell as finely as possible. I do it first with a pestle and then in the food processor. You do need a good food processor with a strong motor. Keep the appliance steady during the grinding process! Your workplace will certainly not stay clean, but you have to remember that it will be quickly tidied up.
Sauté the crushed shells in a dab of butter in a large pan. Add the vegetables, spices, seasonings and tomato purée. Stir while frying and add cognac and vermouth. Slightly reduce the liquid. Pour in the fish stock and leave the soup to simmer on low heat for 2 hours. Do not boil, since it will make the soup bitter.
Strain the soup through a fine sieve. Return to the pan and again bring it close to a boil. Cut the chilled butter into cubes and fold the cubes into the bisque one by one. Season with cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and possibly some freshly ground pepper. Cut the lobster meat into small chunks and stir into the soup. Briefly heat and serve immediately.
© 2011 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.