Recipe of the week: Lobster bisque en croûte

A perfectly prepared lobster bisque can be the most comforting of all comfort foods. Our version is high on flavor with plenty of richness – from the soup’s texture and taste, to our pastry cover. For those who may not be as familiar, the French term bisque refers to a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup, which we achieve by including stock, butter, a good roux, tomato paste and a flavorful mirepoix. Mirepoix, simply put, is a combination of diced vegetables cooked in butter or oil for an extended period of time on low heat to avoid coloring or browning, thus producing a strong flavor base. Besides chowders, bisque is one of the most popular seafood soups and can be made from lobster, crab, shrimp, or crayfish. For us, there is no more perfect bisque than one prepared with delectably tender bites of fresh lobster. Adding to this dish, is the “en croûte” – or pastry dome – that we use to top-off the soup – much like a pot pie – before it bakes to a crisp and flaky pastry lid one needs to break through with their spoon to reach the bisque’s creamy goodness and lobster meat. This recipe for lobster bisque en croûte, with its luscious flavors, can serve as the perfect starter course for an elegant and refined winter’s day meal, or an extra special lunch gathering with homey sophistication. Creamy, buttery and decadent, this recipe for lobster en croûte is meant to be enjoyed on a cold night among close friends and family while celebrating traditions. To prepare this dish allow yourself sufficient time, don’t rush, and be sure to stock up on only the freshest ingredients. There are a few steps to follow to first prepare the bisque, and then once you are ready to serve. It a labor of love that takes time and effort but it is worth every minute of it when you savor the results! Ingredients 9 oz olive oil 30 oz mirepoix 10 oz leeks, thinly sliced, save 4 oz. and set aside 18 oz fennel, diced 4 garlic cloves, crushed 3 lobster bodies, roasted 2 oz tomato paste 1.5 fl oz brandy 6 fl oz white wine 1.5 qt lobster stock (have extra to loosen soup if needed) 1 qt water 2 oz arborio rice 2 oz blond roux 12 fl oz heavy cream Pinch of ceyenne 2 tbsp lemon juice Salt to taste Black pepper to taste 1 oz tarragon Leaves (save nicest leaves for plating) 1 cooked lobster 1 box of store-bought puff pastry 2 eggs, beaten 1 oz melted butter Directions To start, steam the lobsters for approximately eight minutes until just cooked, then chill immediately and separate the meat from the shell. Be sure to reserve the meat and shells separately. Next, sweat the onions and then add the Mirepoix, leeks, fennel, and garlic, and continue to sweat until fragrant. Then, add the tomato paste and cook through making sure to mix in with all the vegetables and shells. Once blended, carefully add brandy and flambé, then add the wine and reduce the liquid by half. Add stock and water and proceed to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Next, add the rice and cook until soft. Now blend the soup and strain it through a fine chinois. Next, add the cream and reduce until you reach the desired consistency. Feel free to adjust the flavor with cayenne, lemon and salt. Now chill and store. When preparing to serve, sweat the leeks and bite size pieces of lobster in a sauté pan. Leave knuckles and claws whole. Let chill/cool. Now, add the leeks and lobster to the center of your bowl, followed by roughly chopped tarragon. Next, pour chilled soup into the bowl. Using scissors, cut pieces of puff pastry to the dimensions of your serving bowl. We recommend cutting the pastry approximately a half inch larger in diameter of the bowl to give the dough enough room to stick all the way around. Now, brush the bowl with an egg wash and lay a piece of puff pastry on top to cover along all the edge of the bowl. It’s important to keep all of the ingredients cold so that when you add the puff pastry it does not sweat. Now top it off with another brush of egg wash to the pastry to get a nice color. Bake for eight minutes in a 350° oven. Remove from oven, brush with butter, and rotate, then cook for another five minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve on a liner with napkin or linen to avoid a burn. It will be hot. Thank you to Chef Julian Garriga of Seawell Fish n’ Oyster, Kimpton Angler’s Hotel, South Beach, FL, USA for the recipe. If you have a recipe you would like to share with A Luxury Travel Blog‘s readers, please contact us.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. I’d like to have a go at this recipe. Haven’t seen fresh lobster anyway for ages. I wonder if it would be as good with frozen lobster?

    1. My guess would be “no”… depending on where you are in the world, lobster can be seasonal. It’s caught year-round in places such as Maine but, on the shores of the UK, I think we are currently in the off-season.

  2. It would be so much better to enjoy this bisque over-looking South Beach, Miami but at the moment I’ll just have to make the most of my own culinary skills.

  3. Recently I read someone saying that her secret to surviving lockdown had been to give her and her husband very regular treats. I think I could schedule this recipe as one of my treats for an evening next week. My extra tip is that doing something creative, that occupies your mind and helps you to escape from everyday routines, is also a real bonus.

    1. One of the few benefits of the pandemic has been that a lot of us have spent more time preparing our food. When you’ve got hour after hour to kill there’s no need to hastily bing a tray in the microwave. At the moment we’re far happier to invest an hour or two in a meal.

    2. Very true comments. I’ve enjoyed dabbling in the kitchen a little more during the lockdowns. I haven’t yet resorted to sourdough but have enjoyed a bit of baking, etc. I’ve also enjoyed taking cuttings from shop-bought herbs (the plants), and then growing from them. It’s amazing how easy it is to do. We had quite a steady supply of basil for a few months!

  4. The secret to perfecting a bisque actually depends on the stock and the type of crustacean used since the flavor comes from these two. While lobster is a very good key ingredient, you may also use shrimp or crab if you are in a hurry or have no access to lobster.

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