A couple of months ago I produced an episode about shrimp. It was episode 118: Shrimp… The Fruit of the Sea. We were in Florida at the time and we were ecstatic to have our “Ruby Reds” again since it had been about a year since our last visit.
In that episode I talked about the difference between Ruby Reds and the regular shrimp that we get here in south Louisiana from the Gulf of Mexico. There’s just nothing like fresh Gulf shrimp.
Honestly, I find seafood so fascinating! If it wasn’t so expensive I would live on seafood. And coffee. And beer. And…. Well, I guess I don’t have to worry about that because seafood does tend to be on the expensive side.
But I love shrimp! Yesterday I posted my recipe for shrimp stock. We have been buying shrimp lately. I can’t help it. I’m at the grocery store and I pass by the seafood section (all VERY fresh down here in swamp country!), and there they are…. big, bluish, juicy-looking SHRIMP!!!! And they are usually less than $5.00/lb. We’re talking big-uns here. 12 to 15 count.
Incidentally, they way they measure shrimp down here is by how many it takes to make one pound. So 12-15 count are jumbos. 20-30 count are medium, etc.
So, what to do with the shrimp after I buy them? I’m sure we all recall Bubba from Forrest Gump talking about shrimp. The list goes on and on. For us, fried is out of the question. I’m a terrible fryer. If I want fried shrimp, I go to a restaurant. No frying here.
Usually, I do something like a shrimp étouffée. Or maybe a shrimp creole. Seafood gumbo is ALWAYS a possibility, even in hot weather. But recently I’ve been trying my hand at shrimp bisque. Bisques are thick and delicious. And this shrimp bisque has a kick of brandy. It adds a wonderful “something extra” (a.k.a.lagniappe down here in Louisiana) to this soup.
If you decide to try it, let me know how it turns out. You can call the feedback line at 985-635-4974 or leave a comment below!
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 3 to 4 yellow onions, chopped
- 2 ribs of celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2.5 teaspoons kosher salt (to start… always to taste!)
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more… to taste!)
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 3 Bay leaves
- 3 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup of brandy
- 4 quarts of shrimp stock
- 1/2 stick of butter, softened
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 8 oz heavy cream
- 3 lbs medium-size shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup of more of chopped parsley, to be added to bowls when served
- 1/2 cup or more of chopped green onions, to be added to bowls when served
- Heat a large heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add the olive oil, followed by the onions, celery, carrots, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft. About 6 minutes.
- Add the herbs, tomato paste, and brandy, and cook, stirring, for another 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add the shrimp stock and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, combine the butter and flour in a bowl and mix with your fingers until you have a smooth paste. After the bisque has simmered for one hour, begin adding this mixture to the pot one tablespoon at a time, whisking after each time. [You’re really making something of a roux here.]
- Cook for another 5 minutes, then slowly pour in the cream, continually whisking.
- Add the shrimp. Stir the pot, and allow it to cook for another 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve.
- Ladle into bowls and top with parsley and green onions.