greenbottletree











{08/09/2012}   Who’s up for a lobster soup challenge?!

Not being a fishy or soupy fan, to absolutely love a lobster soup has taken me by surprise and I now want a bowl of it once a week.  The lobster soup that has changed my opinion is the wonder soup served at Sea Baron in Reykjavik Old Harbour and, guess what, I have a list of ingredients!  But what to do with them.

I have looked in a few recipe books for lobster soup (bisque) and I’m going to detail their ingredients and a bit of the method, then give you the ingredients for THE lobster soup and see if anyone has any interest in trying to make the best lobster soup imaginable!

My fish guru is Alan Davidson and he has an “economical” lobster bisque recipe which he’s adapted from Lillian Beckwith’s Hebridean Cookbook. 

The ingredients:

1 or 2 lobster shells

2 pints water

Salt and pepper

A pinch of sweet basil

25g butter

1 tbs flour

¼ pint cream

Basically: pound shells into small pieces and add to water with  salt, pepper and basil then bring to the boil and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours before sieving.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour until it starts frothing, add the liquid, stirring continuously, cook for ten minutes then remove from the heat and stir in the cream.  He suggests (as per Sea Baron soup) adding bits of lobster flesh at this point.

The next recipe I would be influenced by is Jane Grigson’s, which has more ingredients:

1 small lobster

2 carrots, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 stalk of celery, diced

125g butter

60ml brandy

250ml dry white wine

2 pints fish stock

Bouquet garni

3 tbs rice

125ml double cream

Salt, pepper, cayenne

1 bunch of parsley

This directions are also a little more complex:

Cut the (in this recipe, live) lobster in pieces and separate the coral from the meat.  Sautee the vegetables with 2 tbs of butter until they soften, then add the lobster until it reddens (if using a pre-cooked lobster, add the shell with the meat removed).  At this point, pour on the brandy and set it alight, turning the lobster in the flames.  Then pour in the wine and boil hard until it reduces by half.  Add enough fish stock to cover the lobster and simmer for a further five minutes, then remove the lobster pieces.

Add the rest of the stock and the bouquet and rice.  Meanwhile, remove the meat from the lobster shells, putting large bits of shell into the soup.  Dice the meat and set aside.

Once the rice is cooked, take the shell out of the pan and liquidise or sieve the rest, with the cream and most of the lobster meat.  Season.  Mix the coral with the remaining butter and add to the reheated (NOT boiling) sup, together with the remaining bits of intact lobster meat.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

She also suggests adding a spoonful of tomato puree or chopped tomato, which is an ingredient in THE soup.

The final recipe comes from Kate Whiteman’s The World Encylopedia of Fish and Shellfish and is similar to Jane Grigson’s recipe:

500g fresh lobster

75g butter

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, diced

3 tbs brandy

250ml dry white wine

1 ¾ pints fish stock

1 tbs tomato puree

75g long grain rice

Bouquet garni

¼ pint double cream

Salt, white pepper and cayenne

As per the previous recipe, cut the lobster into pieces.  Melt half the butter in a large saucepan, add vegetable and cook over a low heat until soft.  Put in the (again based on it being previously live.  Otherwise just add the meat-free shell) lobster and stir until each piece of shell has turned red.

Pour over the brandy and set alight.  Then add wine and boil until reduced by half.  Pour in the fish stock and simmer for 2-3 minutes, then remove the lobster.

Stir in the puree and rice, add the bouquet garni and cook until the rice is tender.

Meanwhile, remove the lobster meat from the shell (which will already be set aside if using a pre-cooked lobster) and return the shells to the saucepan.  Dice the lobster meat and set aside.

Once the rice is cooked, discard the shell.  Puree the liquid then press it through a fine sieve placed over a clean pan.  Stir the mixture, heat until almost boiling, season with salt, pepper and cayenne, lower heat and stir in cream.

Dice the remaining butter and whisk into the bisque before adding the diced lobster.

 

So there are some guidance recipes.  Here are, as far as I know, THE ingredients for THE soup:

Lobster

Tomato

Celery (including the leaves)

Red pepper

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

Cloves

Coriander (dried or fresh?)

Cream

 

If you come up with a recipe that works out well, please, please, please let me know!!!  THE soup had bits of celery leaf and small slivers of red pepper visible and there were gloriously juicy chunks of lobster flesh.

 

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