Okay, I cheated. But I cheated with a purpose, and the purpose was to keep my husband from shouting at me with a crazy look in his eyes and then cutting up my debit card for spending our $90 per week grocery budget on lobster and cognac. Because I could have, you know? I priced cognac in a couple of different places, several different brands -- Hennessy, Courvoisier and Remy Martin -- and they were all in the $38-$44 range for smallish bottles. Boone's Farm apparently doesn't run to cognac.
And then there was the lobster. When I passed their tank at the grocery, I just turned my head aside and walked a little more quickly. I am SCARED OF FOOD that doesn't give you an actual cost, but instead offers the bone-chilling message on a little blackboard: "Market Price."
I bet you anything that the market price on lobsters flown from Maine to Indiana is not $2.09 a pound.
So I emailed Shari and begged off the Bisque du Langoustine for this week, but I did offer to make instead the Lobster Bisque recipe that I found printed on the label of my little jar of Superior Foods' Better Than Bouillon Lobster Base. This is the same lobster base I bought to use in the Seafood Enchiladas à la Chi-Chi's recipe I posted on July 8. It was good stuff in those enchiladas, so when I read that little tiny recipe, printed in a font so small I thought I was going to have to hire a fairy to come read it for me, I thought, "Hmm, that sounds pretty good. And easy! I'll have to try it someday."
This was the day.
First of all, this recipe scored huge points for me because it took all of ten minutes to prepare, HUGE. Secondly, it tasted delicious. Other than the absence of the quenelles, which are little egg-shaped bundles of puréed lobster, egg whites and a few other ingredients, basted and cooked with the bisque, I wonder if anyone would have known that this recipe came from a jarred base. A purist would have made the quenelles anyway, using lobster or crab meat or even shrimp, but I am very impure when it comes to that sort of thing. Look not upon me. I am not worthy.
So my bisque was just a mug full of creamy deliciousness of a gorgeous pumpkiny sienna hue. I really do think that this could be served as a first course to guests: it tasted that good. For lunch, a bowl would be very nice with a French baguette and some really cold butter.
2 cups heavy cream OR half-and-half (or milk, if you have to be that way)
1 cup water
1 cup white wine (a sweeter variety) or sherry
1 tablespoon Superior Foods' Lobster Base
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon paprika
All you had to do was throw all this stuff in a medium saucepan, give it a go with your whisk, allow it to come to the boil, and then turn the flame down to allow it to simmer gently for five minutes. Done!
I poured myself out that mug-full I mentioned and sat down for a quick taste. The texture was lovely and creamy, the color delightful and the taste completely delicious. I don't know who these Superior Foods people are, but their Lobster Base is darned good. At it cost me a whole $4.95 at the grocery, where I found it on the soup aisle.
Since I'm confessing things anyway, I'll add that I got some crispy golden butter crackers and naughtily crushed a few up into my bisque. I know this makes me sound about eight years old, but it sounded to yummy to pass up.
Next week! Consommé Madrilène (Chilled Consommé with Red Peppers and Tomatoes) pages 267-268
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