Lobster Bisque


For years and years and years now, the Wild Boar and I always have Lobster Bisque on either New Year’s Eve or Christmas Eve. 

Since Hanukkah and Christmas Eve coincided this year, there was already too much going on in the kitchen, so we are having Lobster Bisque tonight to help bring in the New Year.

We became addicted to Lobster Bisque when we lived in Southern California, pretty much next door to the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel.  The hotel was right outside the gates of our neighborhood so we used to go there…..a lot….for dinner.  Of course we always started our meal with Lobster Bisque.

When we moved away from the area we began cooking it ourselves.  Over time we have really perfected the method and the flavor.  It’s not hard to make and is one dish that seems to be enjoyed by anyone who tastes it.

When Lobster Bisque is served to you at the Ritz Carlton, the waiter brings out a soup bowl with two large prawns and places it in front of you.  He then ladles the soup from a tureen into your bowl. 

Each of my bowls has a half-tail of lobster…a much better gig I’d say.

If you can’t make this for New Year’s it is the perfect meal to serve your sweetie on Valentine’s Day.  It has “I Love You” written all over it.

The soup can also be made up to two days ahead and still tastes perfect. 

If you’ve never imagined making bisque at home…now you can…

Here’s what you will need:  Lobster tails, sea salt, dry white wine, chicken stock, fennel, shallot, fresh tomato, brandy, raw white rice, tomato paste, paprika, cayenne, bay leaf, heavy cream and fresh lemon juice.  Ingredients not shown: unsalted butter, fresh thyme, olive oil and water.

You will need 2 lobster tails (about 10 oz. each).  It’s alright to use frozen tails if fresh are not available.  Make sure they are completely thawed out.  Split the tails in half with a sharp knife starting at the fan and slice the knife down and through the meat.

Devein the split tail.  Look for the vein along the edge of the shell, between the shell and the meat.  I would have shown you this but these lobsters must not have been fed right before transport as I couldn’t even find it, or it was very light-colored and thin.

Steam the lobster tails, shell-side down (the shell protects the meat from the intense heat of the steam) in 4 cups of salted (sea or kosher) water.  Using a regular steaming basket works perfectly.  The salted water imparts a minimal but not insignificant taste to the soup; you will use this water later as a base.  Steam the tails for 5-7 minutes and reserve the steaming water for the stock.

When cool enough to handle, remove the tail meat with a fork to pull out the steamed tail meat in one piece.  Chill the lobster meat until ready to use.


Sauté lobster shells in 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat for five minutes to release the flavors. 


Deglaze the pan (with shells present and scraping bits at the bottom) with 2 cups dry white wine (Chardonnay works well), 3 cups chicken stock and reserved lobster water from the steaming of the tails.  Simmer until reduced to 6 cups; about 45 minutes.  Then strain the shells from the stock.

While the stock is simmering prepare the rest of the ingredients.  You will need a cup of diced tomatoes, peeled and seeded.  The easiest way to peel tomatoes are to place them in boiling water for about 45 seconds.  The skin will instantly pull away.  Cut the tomato in half and scoop out the seeds and dice.

Sauté 1 cup chopped fennel and 1/2 cup chopped shallot in 1/4 cup unsalted butter, about 5 minutes. 

Stir in strained lobster stock, 1 cup diced tomato, 2 Tablespoons brandy, 2 Tablespoons raw white rice, 1 Tablespoon tomato paste, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, 1 bay leaf and 1 fresh thyme sprig; simmer 45 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig.

YOU DO NOT NEED AN IMMERSION BLENDER TO MAKE THIS…a regular blender works fine and is what I always use to puree the final liquid.  I wanted to try using my immersion blender which worked fine but left the final liquid a little thicker.  The blender version is a bit smoother. 

Let’s talk safety and pureeing hot liquids—Pureeing hot liquids can be dangerous because steam causes pressure to build inside the blender.  It’s crucial to puree in batches and work from a low to a higher speed.

When using the blender I puree in two batches and return the soup to the pot.

Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice to finish off the soup.


When you are ready to serve the soup sauté the lobster meat in 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter over medium-high heat, just until warmed through.  Slice tails into the size of your choosing for serving and arrange on bisque.  Serve immediately.

See how easy this was?

If they served food in heaven…this would be on the menu.

Lobster Bisque
Adapted from Cuisine at Home

Makes 6-7 cups; can easily be doubled

2 lobster tails (10 oz. each), split in half
4 cups water
1 Tablespoon sea or kosher salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup unsalted butter plus 1 Tablespoon
1 cup fennel, chopped
1/2 cup shallot, chopped
1 cup fresh tomato, peeled, seeded, diced
2 Tablespoons brandy
2 Tablespoons raw white rice
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

You will need 2 lobster tails (about 10 oz. each).  It’s alright to use frozen tails if fresh are not available.  Make sure they are completely thawed out.  Split the tails in half with a sharp knife starting at the fan and slice the knife down and through the meat.

Devein the split tail.  Look for the vein along the edge of the shell, between the shell and the meat.  I would have shown you this but these lobsters must not have been fed right before transport, as I couldn’t even find it, or it was very light-colored and thin.

Steam the lobster tails, shell-side down (the shell protects the meat from the intense heat of the steam) in 4 cups salted (sea or kosher) water.  Using a regular steaming basket works perfectly.  The salted water imparts a minimal but not insignificant taste to the soup; you will use this water later as a base.  Steam the tails for 5-7 minutes and reserve the steaming water for the stock.

When cool enough to handle, remove the tail meat with a fork to pull out the steamed tail meat in one piece.  Chill the lobster meat until ready to use.

Sauté lobster shells in 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat for five minutes to release the flavors. 

Deglaze the pan (with shells present and scraping bits at the bottom) with 2 cups dry white wine (Chardonnay works well), 3 cups chicken stock and reserved lobster water from the steaming of the tails.  Simmer until reduced to 6 cups; about 45 minutes.  Then strain the shells from the stock.

While the stock is simmering prepare the rest of the ingredients.  You will need a cup of diced tomatoes, peeled and seeded.  The easiest way to peel tomatoes are to place them in boiling water for about 45 seconds.  The skin will instantly pull away.  Cut the tomato in half and scoop out the seeds and dice.

Sauté fennel and shallot in 1/4 cup unsalted butter, about 5 minutes. 

Stir in strained lobster stock, diced tomato, brandy, raw white rice, tomato paste, paprika, cayenne, bay leaf and thyme sprig; simmer 45 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig.

YOU DO NOT NEED AN IMMERSION BLENDER TO MAKE THIS…a regular blender works fine and is what I always use to puree the final liquid.  I wanted to try using my immersion blender which worked fine but left the final liquid a little thicker.  The blender version is a bit smoother. 

Let’s talk safety and pureeing hot liquids—Pureeing hot liquids can be dangerous because steam causes pressure to build inside the blender.  It’s crucial to puree in batches and work from a low to a higher speed.

When using the blender, I puree in two batches and return the soup to the pot.

Stir in heavy cream and fresh lemon juice to finish off the soup.

When you are ready to serve the soup, sauté the lobster meat in 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter over medium-high heat, just until warmed through.  Slice tails into the size of your choosing for serving and arrange on bisque.  Serve immediately.

Post a Comment

59 Comments

  1. Marissa 1

    This is the perfect holiday meal, very impressive.

    Reply
  2. Now I am so hungry I will have to eat before I go to bed. The lobster bisque is on my soon to be made for dinner list. Very soon!

    Happy New Year,it should be, what with you and the Wild Boar eating such great food.

    Reply
  3. Shirley 3

    If only I could reach through the screen and eat that … it would be heavenly for breakfast, and for any other meal! Happy 2009, Cathy!! Thanks for all your phenomenal recipes this year, not to mention the fun and/or thought-provoking discussions. :-)

    Reply
  4. They do serve food in heaven! “He brought me to his banqueting table, His banner over me is love.”
    That looks spectacular! Now my only question is, do I make that, when I’m the only one who will eat it? Maybe for my birthday. My husband is a dud with food.

    Reply
  5. This is an absolutely breathtaking and tasty soup Cathy. A feast for the eyes and the tastebuds. Have a fantastic New Year celebration!!!!!!

    Reply
  6. Howdy 6

    That looks sooo yummy! Something I’ll have to plan for in the future… but I agree with Shirley above – I could have eaten that for breakfast!

    Cathy thank you for the time and effort you put into your blog. It’s fun and informative and yummy to boot! Happy New Year to you and your family!

    Reply
  7. Kate 7

    This is incredibly simple and beautiful. I’m going to have to go for Valentine’s Day, however. Thanks for the info! And Cathy, have an excellent New Year. It’s been so fun finding you and getting to know you. You rock, girl!

    Reply
  8. What a beautiful special occasion soup. So many layers of flavor in the rich stock. And a lovely presentation.

    As always, your photos are great.

    Reply
  9. That looks gorgeous, and utterly luxurious. I agree, that would be on the menu in Heaven. Hey, wait, then where does my Fireball Bison Chili bring me? AAAAH!! That’s it, no more peppers for this girl.

    Reply
  10. Sandra 10

    I really like the set-up photo you use to start the entry, makes it easier to, visually, start the process. Try a bottle of Saint Hilaire sparkling wine with this dish; it will ZING!

    Reply
  11. Oh I love lobster bisque but I’ve never attempted it home. Your step-by-step makes it look doable–I will try!!

    Reply
  12. Mary 12

    You folks sure know how to ring in the New
    Year. The thought and effort that goes into your blog really shows here. Happy New Year!

    Reply
  13. Unfortunately, I’m not a seafood fan, but my mother-in-law is. I’m going to pass this recipe on to her. She would LOVE it.

    Reply
  14. Katrina 15

    Sure wish I liked fishy stuff. Does it taste fishy? I need to try something like this to see what I think.
    Happy New Year, Cathy!

    Reply
  15. Kayola 16

    Seriously…can I just come live at your home???? That sounds de-lish..I wish my hubby would do seafood, because I ♥ it! Happy New Year to you and your fam! Thank you for ALL of your wonderful recipe’s that you have shared and the added dose of fun…I love your blog!

    Reply
  16. Looks fantastic!
    Our New Year’s tradition is scallops in champagne sauce. It is a great way to start the champagne flowing!

    Happy New Year

    Reply
  17. ELRA 18

    Cathy,
    This look delicious. I wonder if RItz in Halfmoon bay has the same menu?
    Happy New Year.
    Elra

    Reply
  18. What do you want me to bring?

    Reply
  19. Living in Maine along the water, I feel like I should know how to make this. *lol* It would probably help if I liked lobster. I know I know, I live in Maine and can’t stand lobster. I’ll prepare it for guests and we’ve had several lobster bakes over the years, but regardless of how it’s prepared, I can’t stomach it.

    I really wish I enjoyed seafood of any type. Luckily my oldest daughter LOVES lobster and I know she’d love to try preparing this. I think I know what we’re doing tomorrow. Who knows, this might even become a new tradition for us!

    Reply
  20. Bob 21

    Well, it certainly looks nice. I don’t care for lobster, but it’s cool to see how the dish is made. Happy New Year! :)

    Reply
  21. I love the Ritz in Laguna Niguel and lobster bisque! We’ve been stuck on JFK’s favorite recipe that Saveur published a few years back, so it will be great to try a new version. Happy New Year to you!

    Reply
  22. Egghead 23

    Cathy this looks sinful. Since I don’t have the ingredients now I think I will save this for Valentines or our anniversary.

    Reply
  23. Bunny 24

    This is incredible,and your right , this would be perfect for Valentines Day, it screams I love you!

    Reply
  24. You seriously need to adopt me. I’ll be your official taste-tester.

    I love lobster!

    Reply
  25. Seriously one of my favorite foods ever! I will have to think about making this! Looks fantastic!

    Reply
  26. Whitney 27

    This is very impressive. I hope that your 2009 starts wonderfully!

    Reply
  27. Pam 28

    I’ve had lobster bisque once and it became my all time favorite soup. Yours looks and sounds delicious.

    Hope you have a very Happy New Year Cathy.

    Reply
  28. I’ve never made this, just always bought it from our fave restaurant for family occasions. But now, I will be dangerous in the kitchen. Beautifully done and Happy New Year to you, WB and the hooligans.

    Reply
  29. Absolutely gorgeous!

    Hope you and the family have a happy and healthy New Year!

    Reply
  30. SnugBug 31

    OMG. Having HAD this very soup, I am here to tell you just how amazing it is!!! Y U M. Memories…

    Reply
  31. That looks so good. I’ve got to try it.

    Reply
  32. dawn 33

    I love making this. It is a wonderful way to ring in the new year.
    Those are good looking lobsters!
    Happy New Year sweetie!

    Reply
  33. Dawn 34

    Next door to the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel are two of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the world…Ritz Cove and Niguel Shores…which one were you lucky enough to live in? I’m insanely jealous.

    Reply
  34. Lobster Bisque is one of my absolute FAVORITES. I’ve never made it though. I’m going to bookmark this one and try it in the next few weeks. Yummmmmmm!

    Reply
  35. Liz C. 36

    Wow! It looks like Heaven In A Bowl to me. I have to make this for Mr. Snooty.. he adores lobster any way it can be prepared. So, this is going to be a real treat!

    Have a wonderful & very Happy New Year!

    Reply
  36. Marjie 37

    Looks great! You bring the lobster bisque, and I’ll make everything else for dinner, OK?

    Reply
  37. Jeff 38

    Son of a bisque! That looks delicious!

    Reply
  38. tipper 39

    Lobster is one of the best foods on the face of the earth! I like it anyway you fix it-but this looks especially yum!

    Reply
  39. grace 40

    well. it’s hard to believe such carnage could lead to such a delectable soup. :)
    happy new year, cathy!

    Reply
  40. I’ve never had lobster bisque. It looks very elegant though!

    Reply
  41. gaga 42

    Yum, yum, yum, and yum! I loooove lobster bisque. Yours looks delightful!

    Reply
  42. Mrs. L 43

    I almost bought a couple of lobster tails for dinner tonight but at $30 a pound, I figured maybe I’d wait…at least until I had a recipe to use them…which you just gave me, but I’m not going back to the store!

    Reply
  43. Biz 44

    I just ate dinner and my mouth immediately began to water when I read/saw this recipe!

    Love all things bisque!

    Happy New Year!!!!

    Reply
  44. Beautiful meal to start the new year! Hoping 2009 brings you all good things. xo

    Reply
  45. amy in az 46

    Yum, Yum, Yum! If my DH liked seafood, I’d be tempted to try making it, but no such luck!

    Happy New Year Noble Pig!

    Reply
  46. I’m drooling! Happy New Year, Cathy! I hope it’s full of great things for you!

    Reply
  47. Tammy 48

    Yummmm…and to think we settled for delivery pizza tonight!
    Happy New Year Cathy….2009 is going to be a great year!

    Reply
  48. This looks AMAZING!

    Happy New Year!

    Reply
  49. Jescel 50

    yum, yum.. made my mouth water looking at your pics! HAPPY NEW YEAR and here’s to more lovely creations in 2009!

    Reply
  50. CourtJ 51

    This looks fantastic, and easy enough to actually try.

    Reply
  51. nancy 52

    oh my…………..

    Reply
  52. I fixed this for dinner the other night and my boyfriend and I couldn’t believe how freakin good it was. This is one of the most wonderful recipes ever in the history of ever.

    Reply
  53. Jake 54

    That looks so good. I’ve got to try it

    Reply
  54. I realize this is a little heavy for a mid summer meal but, my family had dined on whole lobsters the night before and I had already made a fish stock with the shells. The next step was obvious…make lobster bisque. I followed your recipe,l in addition I used my own fish stock and also made the bisque “en croute” with the puff pastry that I had on hand. After the bisque was finished I topped each of my oven proof soup bowls with the pastry and placed in the oven until golden brown. It was delicious…even at $20 a bowl!

    Reply
  55. Amanda 56

    I am so excited to find this recipe, I have ran into so many websites that reference it:) I am going to start a 52 week project making a soup a week. I absolutely love lobster bisque and wanted to make sure it was #1 on my list. I have never made it before so that is again why I am so glad I found you:) My main question is that I really dislike fennel, and I am wondering if you could suggest a substitute for it that would not ruin the texture of this dish. I greatly appreciate your input and I really look forward to making more of your recipes!!! take care, Amanda

    Reply
  56. Asbjorn Gjertsen 57

    Hello Cathy,
    I just read your story about ‘This lobster bisque is better than sex’ from the Huffpost Style July 22,2009. It certainly was deja vous to me and very interesting as I, like you, have been looking for a long time for an excellent Lobster Bisque.
    My story goes back to Montreal some 35 years ago when I used to go to the Maritime Bar of the, you guessed it, Ritz Carlton. I too, would always start a meal with that wonderful Bisque. Having moved some 400 miles away 20 years ago, I thought I would still be able to find a similar Lobster Bisque. Ever since, I have not been to a Restaurant that served anything even close. I have talked to several chefs, tried it on my own, but always dissapointing. Then last week, I came across a recepe that looked promising and different from what I had been dabling in. I have just made it, and it is wonderful. Funny thing is, my wife found yours just today, and it is very similar to what I just made. Main difference is I flambeed the lobster tails with the Cognac after sauteing.
    Next, I will make your receipe, which may even be better.
    Suffice to say, my long hunt is over, I just had to share with you our similar stories and the coinsidence of time and circumstanses.
    With best wishes,
    Asbjorn

    Reply
  57. A. Bove 58

    I halved the recipe last night to make for just me and my hubby, it was fantastic! Thank you!

    Reply
  58. Dawn 59

    I’ve been wanting to try this for a while & today seemed like the perfect time to give it a try. Another recipe from you that is a hit with the family. Thank you so much!

    Reply

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