There is something inescapably elegant about bisques. Last weekend I attempted a crayfish bisque, only to discover that crawfish haven’t yet made their migratory journey (by truck, I believe) from the murky waters of Louisiana to the salmon-packed streams of Washington. So, shrimp was the next best choice.
Makes: 6 handsome bowlfuls
Total kitchen time: 30 mins
- 1 lb uncooked shell-on medium shrimp
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 leek, white and pale-green parts diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 5 oz can of tomato paste (the small cans, you’ll see ’em)
- 1/4 cup Brandy
- 2 cups seafood stock (in a box, next to the chicken and beef stock)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp red cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (to garnish)
- Shell and clean the shrimp, reserving shells in a bowl. Cut the shelled shrimp into 1/2″ pieces and set aside.
- Heat the butter in a large stockpot until melted. Add the shrimp shells and cook over medium-high heat about 3 minutes. Remove the shells and discard them.
- Add the onion and leek to the butter. Sweat over medium high heat until they start to turn golden. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Be sure not to overheat the pan or the butter may separate and burn.
- Add the Brandy to deglaze the pan. Flambe (hold a lighter in the pan, with your head far away).
- Add the tomato paste and shrimp. Cook about 1 minute.
- Add the wine, seafood stock, cream and seasonings. Reduce to a simmer. At this point, you will want to taste the bisque and adjust the flavor with salt and pepper.
- Cover and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning on the bottom of the pot.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with the parsley.
This soup is great as a starter or an entree. Add a really good baguette and a dry white wine and you’ve got a meal befitting the best yacht club in town.