Monday, February 01, 2010

Shrimp Heads, Shrimp Heads

  Saturday I went to Chelsea Market, since there is not much at the farmers' market these days, and it was   colder out than Gary Bettman's heart, anyway.  I got to a couple of new places, like Lucy's Whey, but gravitated to the tried-and-true Lobster Place when thoughts of a warming dinner--or two--danced in my head.  I've talked about Maine shrimp recently, so I won't go through all that again, except to say that this time I was cooking two pounds, so they were in the pot for about a minute.  And that I added some Old Bay to the water.  Okay, now we're up to speed.  The shrimp are cooked; the shrimp are eaten.  And there is an enormous pile of shrimp detritus quite literally staring at me.  What do they want?  They want to live on! Into a plastic bag they go to await their fate, which is to be reborn as Maine crab bisque.

Next morning, every shrimp scrap goes into a large pot. Lots of water, parsley, tomato paste, a peeled and  halved onion, a few aging mushrooms, and salt and pepper join them.  Now, I need carrot and celery, of which there is neither in the crisper swamp.  It is fourteen degrees with a perceived temperature of Chilly Willy. No one is going anywhere.  Bruce reminds me that Spike has carrots and celery and tons of other stuff.   Shake a fair bit  into the pot.  Bring to a boil, skim.  Lower heat, simmer for about an hour.  Strain through a double layer of paper towels for a clear, reddish broth.  There should be a quart or more. 

I doused the crab with a tablespoon or two of sherry and set it aside.  Had a nip of sherry.  Now, to make a veloute.  Melted two tablespoons butter over medium heat, added two tablespoons flour, stirring until smooth and golden.  Slowly poured in two cups of stock. Stir until thickened.  Add crab and cream.  Heat through, but do not bring to a boil.   I made enough for two (which I would soon have cause to regret), but it can be doubled.  I had time to spare, so I let the bisque cook and reheated it before serving, which improves the flavor. Here's where we stopped taking pictures, as both cameras went wonky.  Oh, well, one bisque looks much like another.  Unless you drop an entire bowl of it onto the floor.  I mention no names, but it wasn't me.

While the above seems like a long string of directions, making the bisque itself took less than ten minutes, an example of why it is an excellent idea always to have stock in the fridge or freezer.

No comments:

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
I'm a ninth-generation Brooklyn native living in Manhattan.