Monday, April 27, 2009

Since I’m confined to a liquid diet for the immediate future, I figure when life hands you the proverbial citrus fruits you turn them into margaritas. Soups it is, then. 

Since it is now springtime in Austin, the sweet corn is starting to come in and the Gulf Shrimp is on sale, both glorious flavors that go together so well. To me, the important thing with this idea is to maintain the lightness and freshness of it while grabbing as much flavor as you can, too.  

Joe in the Minervois

I realize this may bear no resemblance to a classic bisque, but I care not. Although I do think it is important to learn to do things the "right" way, whether it be music or painting or cooking, before you start to experiment, I have made classic bisques, so those dues are paid. Serves 4 

Joe's Shrimp and Corn Bisque

1 lb shrimp, medium or small, peeled, with shells reserved. Heads-on adds flavor, if you can find them that way

4 ears fresh sweet corn, kernels cut from the cob and cobs scraped. Reserve kernels and juice. Reserve scraped cobs

4 cups seafood broth (see below)

1 cup heavy cream

4 T.  finely chopped shallot

*secret ingredient below


1 carrot, roughly chopped

1 celery stalk, roughly chopped

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped


Bay leaf

Thyme- a teaspoon or so dried, a sprig fresh. Go easy. Or omit.

Reserved corn cobs

To make the broth, peel the shrimp and place peels into a pot with 5 cups of cold water. Add celery, carrot, onion, parsley, thyme, bay, corn cobs. Simmer for half an hour or so until the broth takes on some flavor. Taste it! No arbitrary time limit is a substitute for tasting. Strain and reduce to about four cups.

For the Bisque

Put the chopped shallot in a pot with a knob of butter and a splash of good olive oil. Sauté until shallots are softened, just a few minutes on medium heat. Do not brown. Add broth and corn kernels and juice scraped from cobs and simmer for 20 minutes. Add shrimp and simmer for 3 minutes. Add cream and bring to a simmer. Serve. You could sprinkle some finely chopped parsley over the top or a little pinch of smoked Spanish pimiento, or both, for color. 

*Secret Ingredient: If you wanted to get really racy you could sauté a few minced pieces of good fat pork in with the shallots, too, just for added funk. In the South, we would.