Elegant Lobster Bisque

Photo by Con Poulos

Sumptuous lobster bisque served in heatproof glass is heart-warming, colorful and luxurious. Wait until you’re ready to serve to spoon warm bisque into cups, and garnish each one with a meaty lobster claw. The bisque can be prepared ahead, which frees up your kitchen for the party.

Pro-tip: Foods that can be eaten without utensils are much easier to handle.

  • 4 live lobsters (1¼–1½ pounds each)
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • ¹/₃ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 6 medium tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • ¾ cup brandy
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1¾ cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
  • 8 sprigs thyme, for garnish

Make sure 4 lobsters can comfortably fit into your largest pot. Place lobsters in freezer (as it puts them to sleep). Add 2 inches water and 1 tablespoon kosher salt to pot. Bring to rolling boil. Using tongs, quickly transfer lobsters into pot and secure the lid tightly. Steam for 14–16 minutes. Remove from pot and let cool slightly; do not discard cooking water.

Carefully remove lobster meat from claws and tails; reserve all liquids, shells and lobster bodies. Cut tail meat into chunks, then place the whole claws and chunked tail meat in refrigerator.

Bring three-quarter gallons of water (including liquids from lobster steaming process), 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, lobster shells and bodies to a rolling boil. Cook until reduced by one-third. When finished, pour stock through colander. Set aside, discarding any solids.

Add olive oil and butter to a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Sauté garlic and onions until translucent, then add celery, tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for approximately 5 minutes. Deglaze pan with brandy. When evaporated, add white wine until warmed through. Add 2 quarts of the prepared lobster stock, and boil approximately 20 minutes. Lower heat, and whisk in cornstarch. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes, then add heavy cream. Season with tarragon and dried or fresh thyme. Remove from heat.

Using a hand blender, process until very smooth. Prior to serving, add chunks of lobster tail meat, and simmer over medium heat.

To serve, divide bisque into 8 clear, heatproof glass coffee cups. Garnish each with lobster claw meat and sprig of thyme. Serves 8.

Note: Recipe may be doubled or tripled, but cook lobster in batches of 4.

Published on December 2, 2015
About the Author
Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen
Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen are Wine Enthusiast's Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors. DeSimone tastes wine from Israel and the Mediterranean Basin, while Jenssen tastes wine from Eastern Europe, including the former the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Both co-authored Wines of California, Wines of the Southern Hemisphere, and The Fire Island Cookbook. Wine educators and presenters, both gentlemen serve as frequent guests on national and local television. Email: mikeandjeff@wineenthusiast.net

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