Tuesday, October 18, 2011

National Seafood Bisque Day

By Diane Forrest,

In the Spring of 1985 I began working at the Eola Hotel in town.  It is a beautiful hotel with a flair for detail.  The elevators had operators in them to take you to the floor of your choice, the waitress all wore green dresses with white aprons, and hot tea was served in a teacup on a saucer with a doily on top.  The movie, The North and South was being filmed in town, and all the stars were staying at The Eola.  Patrick Swazye, Genie Frances, David Carradine, Jaquline Bisset to name a few.  I had just started as a waitress, and had never heard of some of the foods they ordered, but I quickly got educated.

Someone had ordered the shrimp bisque, and when I went to claim my order I saw a wonderful looking dish.  It was a bowl, covered with a type of pie crust with steam rising from the top.  I delivered it to the guest and remained close by to catch a glimpse of what was beneath the pastry.  It was a thick creamy soup with bite sized pieces of shrimp floating around.   It looked heavenly.

Today is National Seafood Bisque day.  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.

If you have never tried bisque before, I would like to encourage you to have some today, on National Seafood Bisque day, if you aren't near a restaurant that serves it, here is a quick and easy recipe for you to try.  Enjoy!

2 lb. shrimp (should be 2 c. after peeling)
1 lb. lump crabmeat (you may use claw meat)
1 can cream of celery soup
1 c. half & half
1 lg. can evaporated milk
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 lb. processed cheese (optional)
1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning or more to taste

Sauté shrimp with all ingredients except crabmeat and cheese.
Cook 15-20 minutes, then add crabmeat and cheese.
Cook 5 minutes more.
Serve as a soup or over rice with French bread.
Serves 3-6.

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