We had some shrimp left over from the night before, when Laura made Cioppino, so I thought I would make Shrimp Bisque. I wanted to get the maximum flavor from the shrimp. Researching on the internet I saw that someone used the water from cooking the shrimp as a flavor ingredient, so I tried that. It worked great, even before I added the shrimp my bisque smelled and tasted of shrimp. The addition of some dry sherry at the end really boosts the flavor. Be sure to use plenty of black pepper. You can also add cayenne for a bit of heat, and a bit of Worcestershire if you wish, but I went pure this time.
If you use a standing blender, be careful. Fill it only half-way and put a towel on the lid. When you blend hot liquids they can swell up with steam and push off the lid. I prefer the immersion blender because of this.
This recipe makes enough for 2 people.
1/2 pound shrimp, shell on, about 10 large shrimp 21-25 count.
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
2 bay leaves, whole
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
fresh ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1. In a large, high sided pot, add 1/2 inch of water and a bit of salt and bring to a boil.
2. Add shrimp and cover. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove shrimp to an ice bath. Strain cooking liquid and set aside.
3. Add butter to pot along with celery and shallot. Cook stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened. Add flour and stir to combine. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
4. Add thyme, tarragon, bay leaves and tomato paste. Add milk and reserved cooking liquid and let simmer until thickened. Turn off heat. Remove thyme, tarragon and bay leaves.
5. Peel shrimp and coarsely chop. Add shrimp to pot.
6. Using a immersion blender or standing blender blend soup with shrimp.
7. Add heavy cream. Add dry sherry to taste. Strain. When ready to serve re-warm soup. Adjust seasonings and serve.