A bowl of lobster bisque
|Place of origin||France|
|Main ingredient(s)||Crustaceans (lobster, crab, shrimp or crayfish), rice|
Bisque is a smooth, creamy, highly-seasoned soup of French origin, classically based on a strained broth (coulis) of crustaceans. It can be made from lobster, crab, shrimp or crayfish. Also, creamy soups made from roasted and puréed vegetables are sometimes called bisques (though this is, by definition, incorrect, as this would make them cream soups).
It is thought the name is derived from Biscay, as in Bay of Biscay, but the crustaceans are certainly bis cuites "twice cooked" (by analogy to a biscuit) for they are first sautéed lightly in their shells, then simmered in wine and aromatic ingredients, before being strained, followed by the addition of cream.
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." Bisque are thickened with rice, which can either be strained out, leaving behind the starch, or pureed during the final stages.
Seafood bisque is traditionally served in a low two-handled cup on a saucer or in a mug.
Bisque is also sometimes used to refer to cream-based soups that do not contain seafood, in which the sometimes pre-cooked ingredients are pureed or processed in a food processor or a food mill. Common varieties include squash, tomato, mushroom, and red pepper.
- The Academie Française Dictionary defines a bisque as: BISQUE n. Potage fait d'un coulis de crustacés. Une bisque de homard, d'écrevisses. (Soup made from a crustacean coulis, e.g. lobster or crawfish bisque.)
- "Online Etymology Dictionary". Etymonline.com. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
- www.askoxford.com. "biscuit". AskOxford. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
- Child, Julia; Simone Beck (1970). Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 2. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-40152-2.
- "Seafood Bisque Recipe". fourman.dsl.pipex.com. Retrieved 2012-04-25.