|Fresh lobster is essential for a
great lobster bisque, so the recipe calls for a lobster split
while still alive, then cut up and added directly to the pot.
Although this may seem like an intimidating prospect, a simple
procedure kills the lobster instantly - the spinal cord is
severed with your first incision.
On a cutting board directly in front of you, place the lobster
with it's head to the right and tail to the left (reverse if you
are left-handed). Hold the tail with a towel so you don't
scratch yourself on any spines. Hold a large knife above the
lobster as though to split it lengthwise. Insert the tip of the
knife into the joint between the head and tail.
Lower the knife firmly to split the lobster's head lengthwise.
Now rotate the lobster so the tail is to your right. Continue
holding the lobster with the towel. Although the lobster is now
dead, the muscles may contract sharply, so there's still danger
of scratching yourself.
Clean the lobster by removing the sand sack (the organ located
behind the eyes) and the intestine.
With a large knife, chop the lobster - head tail and claws -
crosswise into pieces 1" thick.
In a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter until it
starts to brown lightly (use high heat). Add the lobster and
small shell pieces ( cook the tail and claws separately, cool,
remove the meat, then add the shells to the pot). Cook until the
pieces turn bright red. Reduce the heat to medium and add the
onions, celery, carrot, garlic, tomato, bay leaf, black pepper,
thyme, tarragon, paprika and flour. Continue to sauté for ten
Take the pot off the burner to add the white wine and brandy.
(You don't want to ignite yourself.) Return the pot to the
burner, and cook for 5 minutes more stirring well to incorporate
the flour. Add the fish stock, both kinds of cream and season
with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low
and let the bisque simmer for 30 minutes. Dissolve the
cornstarch in the water and add to the bisque, cook 3 minutes
longer stirring well to thicken.
Take the bisque off the heat and strain the bisque, a cup at a
time, through a fine sieve. Press down on the solids to extract
as much liquid as possible. Return the bisque to the heat and
add the cooked lobster pieces from the tails and claws 2 minutes
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