When I was seven or eight, I went to a family party where I found a table full of different things people had brought – my first potluck. I was skeptical and frankly afraid of the lidded pots full of unfamiliar things my own mother hadn’t cooked.
I dipped into a brown ceramic soup pot of what I thought must surely be something like the beloved cream of tomato soup I ate on cold days when I came home from school. No! It wasn’t that; it was shrimp bisque. After the shock wore off, I wanted another taste of what was in my bowl, which reminded me a little of the savory buttery, cracker-crumbed baked shrimp my grandmother made for holidays.
Roasted Shrimp Bisque
Makes 8-10 servings
2 pounds extra-large (16/20) unpeeled shrimp
2 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 whole garlic cloves
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons brandy or cognac (optional)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Chopped fresh parsley
Heat oven to 425°F.
Peel and devein shrimp, reserving the shells.
Toss the shrimp shells, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons butter and the olive oil together in a roasting pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper; roast until vegetables are browned and shells turn pink, 20 – 25 minutes.
Pour 1 cup water and the tomatoes into the pan and scrape up any caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan.
Transfer the shrimp mixture to a 6-quart stockpot or saucepan. Add 3 cups water, breadcrumbs and the brandy, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper; bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes. Add the cream and 1 pound shrimp to the pot, return to a simmer and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink and opaque. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Puree the soup (including shells*) in batches in a blender (use caution when blending – don’t fill the container more than ¾ full). Pour the soup through a fine strainer set over a large bowl; return to the pot, taste for seasoning and warm over low heat.
Heat the remaining tablespoon butter in a medium sauté pan; add the remaining 1 pound shrimp; season with salt and pepper and cook just until the shrimp turn pink. Sprinkle with parsley.
Serve the bisque in bowls topped with a few of the sautéed shrimp.
*Note: As with most classic bisques, the shells are pureed into the soup for flavor and thickening. Any remaining pieces are removed when the bisque is strained.
dinner, roasting, shrimp, soup
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