Seafood Bisque

The abundance of seafood here in Florida is awesome, so I can't help loading up my current recipe queue with seafood-heavy dishes. A recent trip to a little seafood market brought home more lump stone crab and lobster. After some musing over what I might create, tossing around ideas such as crab cakes or cioppino, I settled on a seafood bisque. Well, originally, I was thinking chowder, but a bisque is elegant and allows the rich flavors of the fresh seafood to stand on their own. Broiled lobster to finish and you have a sophisticated, yet simple and delicious soup course.

A bisque is different from a chowder in that it is creamy and smooth, compared to a chowder's chunky character. But the elemental ingredients are the same, start with a mirepoix and end with lots of stock and fresh seafood. To complete the bisque, you cream the ingredients together to create that silky texture.

Some bisques use rice to thicken and since I didn't have rice, I simply used corn starch - white flour will do as well. Seafood stock works better in this recipe, but I didn't have any on hand, so I used chicken stock and it turned out fine. 

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes

Serves 4

1 cup lumb crab
1 cup fresh lobster tail pieces (1 large tail)
2 strips of bacon, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp melted butter
2 cups chicken or seafood stock
3 tbsp flour or cornstarch
2 cups cream
1/2 cup sherry
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp dehydrated onion
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste


1. Pre-heat oven to broil.
2. In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat to medium-high and add bacon to pan, cook until crispy.
3. Add the onion, carrots, and celery to pan with bacon. Add extra olive oil if needed.
4. Cook vegetables until translucent, about 3 minutes.
5. Add cornstarch or flour. Stir into vegetables until they are evenly coated.
6. Pour in sherry and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
7. Lower heat to medium-low and add stock and cream, stirring in one cup at a time.
8. Stir in lumb crab, thyme, spices, salt and pepper, and continuing cooking for another 3-5 minutes or until entire soup is warmed through. 
9. Blend soup until creamy with either an emersion blender or using a stand blender in batches. 
10. Melt butter in a small sauce pan and in a small bowl, toss lobster pieces with melted butter.
11. Spread lobster on a covered baking sheet and place in oven on broil for 5-8 minutes, or until tops of lobster begins to brown.

Serve bisque warm and topped with the lobster pieces. Garnish with chives or paprika.