My original main course for Valentine’s dinner was seafood bisque with scallops and shrimp. I love seafood as I have mentioned many a time before on this blog and when a special occasion meal comes around I go for some form of shellfish. I had been saving shrimp shells for a bit and I had the two lobster tail shells from my New Years’ dinner. It would have been nice to also have some crab shells but you work with what you have, right?
I minced a shallot. I heated about a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of my smaller stock pot (4 qt). Then I added my accumulated shells. I cooked them for a bit, just until they started to turn red. I always save shells and the like. There is a LOT of flavor in shells and a delicious stock can be made with them.
I covered them with water and let it simmer for a bit.
I gathered my seasonings; I decided to go slightly differently this time and play with a touch of heat. I used my regulars, bay leaf, coriander seed, dried lemon peel, whole allspice and peppercorns. I added some Thai dried chilies and keffir lime leaves.
The seeds went into a cheesecloth bag and the leaves just floated around the broth. I let this simmer for a couple of hours.
I drained it through a cheesecloth lined colander.
I was left with a rich, flavorful seafood stock. I seasoned this with salt and put it back on the heat.
I added a pint of half and half. This is a rich soup. I also added about a cup and a half of water and a cup of dry sherry. I just let it keep warm on low. When I was ready I thickened it by mixing flour with butter and mixing it in little by little until the soup was the consistency I wanted. I used 1/4 cup of butter and 1/3 cup of flour.
I chopped up a scallop and four shrimp and added them to the soup to slowly cook.
I dredged three scallops and two shrimp in seasoned flour and pan fried them in a bit of olive oil.
I set them aside until I was ready to serve.
I put some soup in a bowl and added the cooked shrimp and scallops.
I sprinkled on a bit of parsley to make it festive. The soup was rich, velvety and had a lovely seafood flavor with a touch of heat at the end from the chilies. The scallops were sweet and tender and the shrimp were perfect. You don’t need a lot of this soup to feel satisfied.
This was my original plan for our dinner and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The hubby will get to taste it tonight. He was not at all disappointed in his salmon and now he ends up getting TWO Valentine’s dinners. What a deal!