Creamy Scallop Bisque

Creamy Scallop Bisque

I hadn't planned to make soup at the weekend of the 8th-9th December but the older offspring was at home, keeping his room tidy, and I let myself be persuaded. The recipe is by Marie-Pierre Moine and calls for dry white wine, onion, shallot, a tomato, prawns, cod or pollock, scallops, parsley, dill seeds, brandy, cream, chorizo or black pudding, and chives. One of the factors driving this choice of soup was the presence of some delicious black pudding which the spouse had bought at the National Crafts and Design Fair the previous Friday. White wine, prawns, scallops, brandy and cream can be pretty persuasive, too.

Scallops, prawns and blossom fish with the younger offspring's spatula!
On the Saturday morning I prepared my list. There was a little breakdown in communication regarding the type of scallops needed for the recipe but we overcame any difficulties. The spouse headed off to his favourite fishmonger's where he was told that pollock is now known as blossom fish in order to obviate any embarrassing slips of the tongue. So the spouse bought some blossom fish, prawns and scallops and came home.

While the three male members of my family were out and about on the Sunday afternoon (9th December) - something to do with a rugby match - I stayed at home and began preparing the soup. I heated the wine with some water, then softened the onion and shallot with butter in a saute pan. Next in were the tomato, prawns, pollock (sorry, that should be blossom fish), most of the scallops and chopped parsley. I should have added in dill seeds but we couldn't find any and I didn't have any fronds of dill either. Onwards.

After a few minutes I poured in brandy, then the water and wine mixture, and then it was time to season the mixture. After a little simmering I took the pan off the heat and left it to cool briefly. I tried to mash the soup with the back of the spoon as instructed but didn't have much luck. So I got on with heating the cream in another pot. The next step was pureeing the fish mixture in a blender. When this was done I strained the puree and was left with a very thin soup. I decided to vary the recipe: I mixed the strainings back into the soup before adding the cream.

Creamy scallop bisque
Having left the creamy fish soup in a warm spot, I fried the minced black pudding. I set it aside while I fried the remaining scallops. Then I ladled out the soup, topped it with the fried scallops and black pudding and gathered the boys. We sat, we supped, we sighed with satisfaction. A very good soup but not a sufficient quantity. Next time I'll make more.

Book Buzz

This week I finished reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. It's a charming, old fashioned love story set against prejudice and wartime suspicion. Henry is a Chinese American and the girl he falls in love with is a Japanese American. It's 1942 and Japanese Americans are being interned. It's a very sweet book, perhaps implausible in parts, but I enjoyed it.

The honey references? Henry blows on a honey-brown sesame bun to cool it. Later on he reflects on how he has tried making iced tea with Darjeeling or pekoe, but "they always tasted too bitter, no matter how much sugar or honey he added."

I'm not sure when I'll get back to blogging about soup making. In the meantime I wish you and yours a very happy Christmas and peaceful new year.



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