New Year’s Eve celebrations don’t have to be loud and super noisy in a room full of strangers. You can have a wonderful evening with a few of your dearest friends. Make it that everyone brings something super special and you make this. Read it through and then proclaim “damn I can do this”. (Where did you think that title came from?) Exactly!
Rule #1 – invitations sent out ahead of time
Rule #2 – formal dress for sure (this makes it fun – we have done this several times)
Rule #3 – no rules you can make the entire meal if you wish.
Rule #4 – Wine, chilled
This is Lobster Bisque with a Chili lobster oil.
- 2 x 1 lb. lobsters, cooked
- 1 stalk celery, ribs removed, chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 3 garlic cloves, slivered
- 3 hot red chili peppers
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp. crushed saffron threads
- 1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
- pinch of salt
- 4 cups grape seed oil
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Working over a large bowl, cut off the lobster tails and claws and remove the meat to a separate bowl. Cut the meat up into bite sized pieces then wrap and refrigerate. Crack the lobster shells and rinse the bodies. Place in a large heavy bottomed saucepan along with the remaining ingredients, except for the red pepper flakes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring often. At this point pour yourself a glass of wine OR a cup of coffee – you choose.
Strain all this through a fine sieve, discarding all the vegetables and shells. Once this has completely cooled, add the chili flakes. Pour into a large bottle and refrigerate until ready to use. This will keep for about 2 weeks or you can freeze it and keep it for a month.
- 2 x 1 1/2 lb. fresh lobsters
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, ribs removed, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 fennel bulb
- 1 whole garlic head, cut in half crosswise
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh tarragon and thyme, each
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. black peppercorns
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 4 cups fish stock
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 tsp. saffron threads, crushed
- 2 egg yolks
- 6 large scallops, muscle removed
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
Rest the lobsters on their backs on a cutting board until a large pot of water comes to a boil. Add the lobsters, head first, and boil for 8 minutes.
With tongs, remove the lobsters and place in a large bowl until cool enough to handle. Let the water settle and reserve 3 cups of the liquid. Discard the remaining water.
Holding the lobsters over a bowl, cut the tails and claws remove the meat to a separate bowl. Cut the meat up into bite sized pieces and place in the refrigerator, covered. Crack the shells and rinse the bodies. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the shells and bodies, sautÃ© over a medium heat until they turn a rich colour ( 5-8 minutes.) Stir occasionally so they don’t burn.
Add the onion, celery, carrots, fennel, garlic, tomato, herbs, bay leaves and peppercorns. Stir in the brandy and sherry and boil hard until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Add the fish stock and the reserved 3 cups of the cooking liquid and any of the lobster juices collected in the bowl when removing the lobster meat. Bring to a boil. Now, place a wooden spoon under the pot lid, reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour. Here, again, pour a glass of wine. Never mind the coffee.
Place the whipping cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 35-40 minutes to reduce and become thickened. Remove from the heat and cool. Refrigerate.
Strain the stock through a fine meshed sieve over another large saucepan, pressing firmly to remove any juices. Discard all the solids. Simmer the stock for another 30 minutes. Now whisk in the tomato paste and saffron and cook until it has reduced to about 4 cups. Remove from the heat. You can make this up a day ahead. If you do this, then set your table so that it just sparkles. Remember to have new candles and fresh flowers.
Just before serving, remove 6-12 bite sized pieces of the lobster meat from the fridge. Combine the reduced stock and cream in a medium saucepan and boil, whisking to make sure it is silky smooth.
Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot stock. Now whisk into the remaining stock. Continue whisking until thickened and smooth. Cover the soup and keep warm while searing the scallops.
Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet, Add the scallops and sear on both sides until a pale golden and not quite completely cooked through. Add pieces of the lobster to the pan to keep warm. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the soup once more time then ladle into 6 heated soup bowls. Top with the scallops and warmed lobster meat. Drizzle with the Chili lobster oil. Put on a big smile and take to the table.
Note: It looks long and hard, but it isn’t. Do it on two different days and it is a great dish.