Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shrimp Bisque with Pernod (Page 102)

RECIPE #1079

  • Date: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 -- 7pm
  • Location: Westerville, OH
  • Kitchen: Dave and Karen's House
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Deniz, Brad, Karen H, and Dave
  • Recipe Rating: A-

My special gentleman and I made this recipe for his family a couple weeks ago as part of Mission: Cook More Seafood. We started by peeling and deveining a whole bunch of shrimp, reserving their shells. Then we cooked the shells in butter until they were golden. We added Pernod and boiled, then added water and bay leaf and simmered for 20 minutes. At that point we were a little afraid. The stock was the color of Mountain Dew (from the Pernod) and smelled unbelievably strongly of black licorice (also from the Pernod). Very frightening. When the stock was done simmering we strained out and discarded the shells. We cooked the shrimp in butter until cooked through and set them aside. We then cooked carrots, celery, and onion in butter. We added rice, tomato paste, cayenne, salt, and the shrimp stock and cooked for 20 minutes. Then we added all but 12 of the shrimp and pureed it with an immersion blender. We added heavy cream, lemon juice, and salt, and served the soup topped with the remaining 12 shrimp, diced. I was deeply skeptical about this recipe, particularly after smelling the Pernod and seeing that the recipe called for a half a cup of it. But when the bisque was done the anisey flavor of the Pernod was just barely detectable, and the scary Mountain Dew color had transformed into a lovely bright orange. This soup had a smooth texture and great depth of flavor. Seafood bisques aren't really my thing, so I couldn't get too riled up about this soup, but everyone else at the table seemed to very much enjoy the intense shrimp flavor of this soup.

The recipe is here.

When I have had a chance to cook lately I have been doing a decent job of focusing on getting through some of the seafood recipes in The Book. This has its upsides and downsides. On the downside, seafood really needs to be fresh, so making a lot of seafood requires almost daily trips to the store. Also, although I like fish, it is not something I ever crave. I would usually prefer to eat something else, so it is hard for me to get too excited about this seafood theme. On the upside though, yesterday we made dinner and it took fifteen minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES! There are quick non-seafood recipes in The Book, but I made most of them long, long ago. The days when dinner could be thrown together at the last minute were long gone I thought. It wasn't until yesterday that I realized just how many recipes I have left that take 30 minutes or less -- lots of them! They are mostly of the form: "Cook piece of fish (or shellfish). Top with sauce." There are also labor-intensive seafood dishes left of course -- Poached Salmon in Aspic comes to mind -- but there are enough quick seafood recipes for many weeknight dinners. So, in these next 5 months, when I will be frequently in Berkeley where fresh fish and shellfish easy to find, I plan to cook a lot of seafood!


Maggie said...

Love the idea of combining shrimp and pernod—I bet it would be good with a few fennel fronds on top.

Teena said...

That's a great idea!