So what is a bisque? Wikipedia says: Bisque is a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin, classically based on a strained broth of crustaceans. It can be made from lobster, crab, shrimp or crawfish. Bisque is a method of extracting every bit of flavor from imperfect crustaceans not good enough to send to market. In an authentic bisque, the shells are ground to a fine paste and added to thicken the soup. Julia Child even remarked, "Do not wash anything off until the soup is done because you will be using the same utensils repeatedly and you don't want any marvelous tidbits of flavor losing themselves down the drain." Bisques are thickened with rice, which can either be strained out, leaving behind the starch, or pureed during the final stages.
The recipe I use is from Frank Davis, a local New Orleans celebrity. I grew up in New Orleans, by the way. He was an amazing cook. If you cook this, you will be cooking like we do in New Orleans, true authentic New Orleans!
Here are your ingredients:
1/2 stick of butter (not margerine)
1 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup celery chopped
1/4 cup green pepper chopped
10 slices of cooked bacon (I used thick bacon so I used only 7 and I cut them up into 2 inch slices)
1/4 c bacon drippings ( I tossed the bacon into the veggie saute and just used the drippings like that)
36 fresh oysters. (we don't really like raw feeling oysters so I just get a pint and chop 3/4 of them)
6 small artichokes, cooked and scraped ( I used 2 cans of quarters packed in water)
2 cups oyster liquid ( I just used what came with the oyster pint)
1 cup Artichoke stock (I used the water from the artichoke cans)
1 teaspoons fresh basil
2 pints of whipping cream (I used heavy wc and only one pint)
salt and pepper
parsley for garnish
Melt butter in dutch over and saute onions, celery and bell pepper until they soften. toss in bacon, dripping and chopped oysters and simmer gently over low heat, stirring constantly until oysters curl and a rich grey colored base forms. (I added raw bacon to the veggies and had to cook it down longer. My veggies were over done, next time I will cook the bacon first.)
Drop in artichoke pulp and bottoms and blend well into the mixture.
Stir in oyster liquid and artichoke cooking stock. Bring to boil, stirring or it will scorch and stick to bottom of the pot, Cook for 4 minutes
Stir in basil, reduce heat to simmer and let bisquue cook slowly for 5 miutes.
Stir in cream, half pint at a time, warming it as you pour. When mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat again until it barely bubbles and add salt and pepper to taste. But taste first, oysters can be salty!
After 10 minutes remove from heat and allow to set up forr 15 minutes so flavors will blend.
garnish with parsley.
I did a fresh tomato salad with mozzarella pearls and a crusty bread with garlic and butter slathered over it! Maybe a little Pous Cafe or a Sazerac as well!