Shrimp Bisque

Shrimp Bisque
Serves 4 as main and 6 as starter

I was asked to do lobster bisque for a dinner party last winter but lobster tails are over $30/lb so I convinced the client that shrimp would do nicely and developed this recipe, she and her guests were thrilled. This is a meal in itself if you use two pounds of shrimp and serve it with the Caesar Salad that I’ve included and some crusty bread.
You’ll Need:

1 1/2 – 2 pounds large shrimp (31/35 count), shelled and deveined, shells reserved
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 Leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and rinsed well
3 stalks celery, cut into big chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
8 strips orange peel for garnish, optional
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup brandy
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Finely grated orange zest, for garnish
Finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Here’s What To Do:

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and melt the butter into it. Add the shrimp shells, the leeks, celery, carrots, 3 sprigs thyme, the bay leaf, orange zest, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the shells are red and the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Read this part before you do it. Take the pot off the heat but keep it under the exhaust hood. Carefully pour in the brandy and then ignite the brandy with a long kitchen match, it WILL poof and burn so let it burn until the flame subsides.

Return the pot to the heat, sprinkle in the flour, give it a stir, and cook for another 2 minutes. Now add just enough water to cover and deglaze, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to low and gently simmer until the soup is reduced and thickened, 30 to 45 minutes. Strain into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper.

Chop the shrimp into bit size but not too small pieces. Return the bisque to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until they turn white and are just cooked through. Give the bisque a final taste for seasoning, pour it into warmed soup bowls and serve garnished with the orange zest strips and chives.
Caesar Salad

There are some good store croutons but it’s easy to make your own. Take a loaf of crusty bread and cut it into bite size cubes. Toss in a bowl with some olive oil and maybe some Italian spices. Toast on a cookie sheet pan in a 350 oven for a few minutes until the bread cubes begin to brown but not darken, remove, cool and mix in with your salad as the last item.

4-6 servings

2 large heads romaine lettuce, stem and any dark or spotted outer leaves removed, torn into two bit pieces, rinsed and dried with a paper towel

Caesar Dressing:
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
6 to 8 anchovy fillets, minced or 3-4 teaspoons of anchovy paste
2 tablespoons chopped garlic, three cloves
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 cups olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, save out 3-4 Tlbs to top the salad
Fresh pepper to taste and maybe a few drops of Tabasco sauce

Place the egg yolk, mustard, anchovies, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce in a bowl big enough for you to be able to whisk. Blend with your whisk and then add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until it is fully incorporated. If the dressing gets too thick, add a little warm water and then continue until all the oil is added, be sure to taste and this point and check the balance of the flavor, add bits and splashes to your taste. Add the cheese and continue to blend.
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

Place the lettuce in a salad bowl, pour the dressing over it and toss to cover, add the croutons toss again and top with the remaining cheese.



What Goes With What Wines Selections

Roderer Estate Brut NV 25th Anniversary, Anderson Valley CA. (Sparkling_)
Roderer Estate Brut NV 25th Anniversary, Anderson Valley CA.

The wine has a little yeast, with a big bite of acidity and lots of green apple and a bit of lemon with a fresh, crisp mouth feel. R87+ $18.99

Shrimp Bisque