Lobster bisque gets a boost from Asian flavors
From the May 2019 issue
There are certain dishes associated with celebrations, vacations and self-gratification. Lobster tail is one. Steak is another. Along the coast, three steakhouses feature both, as well as the classic surf-and-turf combo.
It stands to reason that where there is lobster, there is often lobster bisque. But don’t expect the standard creamy creation at Harvest Tide Steakhouse in Lewes. Chef Danio Somoza’s Thai lobster bisque sports an Asian flair.
“It has the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors,” says Somoza, who owns the restaurant with wife Gabby, brother Enrique Somoza and Enrique’s wife, Taryn.
The soup also showcases seafood, of course, which is ideal for the restaurant’s location near Lewes Beach. What’s more, “people love coconut and curry flavors all year long,” he says. Certainly, coastal diners have become better acquainted with them, as many mainstream restaurants sell dishes with Thai ingredients, which are aromatic with a zesty finish.
Somoza, who grew up in El Salvador and came to the U.S. at age 19, is no stranger to seafood. He started his culinary career as a line cook at Big Fish Grill. He was also the opening chef at 99 Sea Level in Bethany Beach, where he met Gabby in 2015. “I was part of the original staff,” she says. “I tried his food as we all prepped to have a menu reveal, and it was love at first bite.”
Somoza has twice won the Best Use of Ingredients Award at the Top Chef of the Culinary Coast, a benefit event for Meals on Wheels, and the soup’s combination of citrus, sweet and heat — not to mention the luscious lobster meat — is an example of his mix-and-match approach to using fresh flavors.
(Writer’s note: In a pinch, I used shrimp and chicken broth instead of lobster and lobster broth. It was delicious — and affordable — but lacked the rich flavor that lobster delivers. If you want to make your own lobster broth, try this recipe from Splendid Table: splendidtable.org/recipes/simple-lobster-stock.)
Worried about the spice level in this dish? Red curry paste is not as hot as the green. But if you’re skittish, add a little at a time and taste the soup after stirring. You can also vary your ratio of coconut milk to cream depending on how thick you like your soup and how much you like coconut milk.
Thai Coconut Lobster Bisque
(serves 4 as an appetizer)
2 lobster tails, cooked, meat removed from shell and diced
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1⁄2 cup of mushrooms, chopped
1⁄2 cup of onions, chopped
1⁄2 cup of celery, chopped
2 cups of lobster stock
16 ounces of heavy cream
4 ounces of light coconut milk
1 tablespoon of red Thai curry paste or to taste
2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of cilantro, roughly chopped, for garnish, or the herb of your choice (Harvest Tide uses lavender)
Cook the lobster tails using your favorite preparation. Remove the meat, dice, and set aside. (If you have time, make broth with the shells.)
In a large stockpot, saute the ginger, celery, mushrooms and onions for five minutes. Add the lobster broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Working carefully, put the broth and vegetables in a blender and puree. You can do this in batches.
Return the contents of the blender to the pot. Stir in the coconut milk and heavy cream. Add the curry paste and lime juice. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until fragrant.
Stir the cooked lobster into the soup and heat until it’s just warm — about three to five minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. You can also serve with lime wedges.