Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Crayfish Bisque




Whenever available in a fine dining restaurant, I will order a good bowl of lobster bisque to start the dinner for I love the richness of the seafood broth and the sweetness of the vegetable that go into the smooth and creamy bisque. 

Although a huge fan, I have never thought of making lobster bisque at home as lobster just does not fit into the budget of home cooking unless on special occasions. But after I had discovered the stall selling fresh crayfish in our neighbourhood market, I told myself I had to cook my favourite lobster bisque at home using the smaller but equally tasty crayfish and I did just that last weekend.

I combined a few online recipes for my virgin attempt and my oh my! What an attempt! The soup was everything I could have asked for - Rich, full of flavour, and absolutely studded with the yummy lobster crayfish meat. It truly captured the essence of the crustacean!

The bisque is not only good on its own but also a very delicious sauce for pasta or ravioli. I cooked some linguini to al dente and tossed them in the bisque and topped with some grilled seafood and the family loved it very much! I give it a 4.5 / 5!


Ingredients (Serves 4)

4 pcs medium crayfish
0.5 kg medium prawns (about 12 pieces), peeled, deveined, head and shells reserved.
4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
2 bay leaves, divided
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
100 ml dry white wine
1 litre chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 tbsp long-grain white rice
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp saffron
2 sprigs fresh dills
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100 ml heavy cream


Method

Remove the crayfish meat from the shell and keep the meat aside (I suggest you request the fishmonger to do this for you). The crayfish shells should be divided into 2 sections - the heads and the tails. Cut each section length wise.

Melt 2 tablespoon butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add crayfish and shrimp heads/shells and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1 bay leaf and chicken stock. Simmer gently uncovered for about 15-20 minutes. Do not bring it to a big boil.  

Melt 2 tablespoon butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until very soft. Deglaze with white wine. Add the seafood broth prepared earlier with remaining bay leaf, rice, tomato paste, saffron, dill, thyme, and ¼ tsp. cayenne. 

Simmer uncovered until flavors meld and rice is soft. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the crayfish shells (leave the prawn heads and shells in the soup), dills, thyme, and bay leaf. 

Working in batches, purée bisque in a blender until smooth or use a handheld blender to purée the bisque right in the pot. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer set over a clean pot. Discard solids in strainer. Reheat bisque over medium heat. Add heavy cream. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cayenne, if desired.

Season the crayfish meat with kosher salt and fresh pepper.

Heat a large heavy-based frying pan until very hot, then add olive oil. Sear crayfish in the pan for about a minute. Add a tbsp butter and continue searing until just cooked; they should feel slightly springy when pressed. Set aside.

Place the crayfish meat in the center of large, shallow soup bowls. Ladle bisque around garnish with dill and serve.

** You may also use the bisque as pasta or ravioli sauce. To do that, add more seasoning to the bisque as the pasta relies on the sauce for its flavour.
** I seared the prawn meats from above recipe together with some scallops to make a very flavourful seafood linguine in crayfish bisque sauce. Super Yummy!








39 comments:

  1. Hi Alvin
    Your crayfish looking very inviting to me.....and that sauce must taste awesome full of flavours. Those who have tasted this must have given you two thumbs uu, right?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mel! How's Auckland so far?

      Love your photos from NZ and looking forward to read and see more from you there! :D

      Delete
  2. Alvin, it sounds like a lot of work but ultimately worth it. I love how it is served in the last pic!

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    1. Thanks PH! That's served with linguine... very nice too!

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  3. Alvin, your photos are torturing me :p. i must try making this asap.

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    Replies
    1. Haha Esther! Thanks! Yes yes, I highly recommend this recipe. :D

      Delete
  4. Ummmm...can I have a second helping...a third...and a fourth? See my shape and size, sure I would need to eat more, right? LOL!!!

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    Replies
    1. Of course you can, my friend! The bisque was so good that I could just have it with some toasted bread as a meal on its own!

      Delete
  5. Oh wow looks so good! So nice that u can get fresh crayfish there. You have to put this on your restaurant menu next time, ya!

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    Replies
    1. Yen, Thanks for believing in my restaurant dream... :)

      Delete
  6. Hi Alvin,

    Your family is so lucky to have you cooking this classy dish for them. Hope that your restaurant dream will fulfill soon...

    Zoe

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  7. Your bisque looks heavenly...what gorgeous photos of such a yummy soup!!!

    PS. Thanks for your kind words of sympathy.

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  8. This is fabulous, Chef! I give it a 6!!! The texture is like butter...so silky and velvety...YUM!

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  9. Just looking at the way you prepare the crayfish bisque had my mouth watering... When you start a restaurant, I'll be sure to come and support you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mich! You will have to wait for a loooong time... :D

      F&B business in Singapore is just too competitive... Dun want to kill my passion for cooking because of dollars and cents.

      Delete
  10. I'll give that pasta a 5 :D Sumptuous and just drool-worthy ! Okay, let me get some tissue first ......

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  11. You are not just a talented cook but a talented photographer as well. Omg your photos made me want to bite my screen!

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    Replies
    1. Hey PY! Thanks!

      Long time! How are you?

      Dun break the monitor! Or your phone!!! :p

      Delete
  12. Like u, I enjoy having a bowl of piping hot lobster bisque when fine dining. I've made lobster bisque & prawn bisques but yet to try crayfish. Yours certainly looks appetizing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Shirley! How's your lobster bisque? Did you post it on your blog?

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  13. Alvin, that soup is just fantastic and the pics are awesome! Cheers

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  14. Beautifully plated and photographed :D

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    1. Thanks Lisa! Great to hear from you again!

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  15. Look absolutely mounth-watering, but I can only admire but no chance to try, too bad..

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    Replies
    1. Haha... Feeling is mutual when I visit your blog! :D

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  16. Hi Alvin, very delectable crayfish dish. Looking at the ingredients, this dish is awesome. Excellent click!

    Best regards.

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  17. OMG look at the list of ingredients!! But I am tempted to try this out as I have not made any bisque before. When I'm in Belgium next month, I'll probably try this recipe out. It'll be fun as I have so much time...

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    Replies
    1. Hi Eiling! Good to know that you are going to try this out... For your husband-to-be? :D

      Delete
  18. Lobster bisque is also one of my top favoutite soup! The photography is really good and I can only imagine the taste must be heavenly. Jazz

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    Replies
    1. Hello my friend! Is lobster readily available in Toronto? Ask Mr Yap to cook for you all using this recipe! :D

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  19. Hi Alvin,
    Every time reading your post is like reading a monthly food magazine.
    Your pictures are so comfortable to look at and the food is so inviting :)

    Oh!! This crayfish bisque looks awesome.
    But may i know why you rate it 4.5 and not 5..:p
    mui

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mui Mui! Long time... How are you?

      Thanks for the comments!

      I just cannot rate myself 5/5, can I? There should always be room for improvement! :D

      Delete
  20. May I ask what the scientific name is for that species of crayfish?

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