Winter's cold, even in Louisiana. So here's something to warm you up.
A key to a good bisque is to have tasty stock, so we take the time here to make one from shrimp shells and heads.
It's great if you can use fresh corn but not at all necessary, given the richness of the stock-shrimp-cream combination.
For the stock:
Shells and heads from 2 pounds whole shrimp
6 cups water
1 onion rough chopped
1/2 celery cup rough chopped
3 cloves garlic rough chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
2 bay leaves
~6 whole black peppercorns
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Make shrimp stock:
Remove the heads and shells from the shrimp. Devein and then refrigerate the cleaned shrimp.
Add to a large pan: the shrimp shells and heads, water, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, lemon zest, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour.
Remove from heat and allow to cool down enough to handle. Then remove and discard solids from the stock, then strain it and reserve until called or below.
For the bisque:
4 tablespoons butter
6 green onions, white and green parts separated and chopped fine
2 rib celery, chopped fine
1/2 cup carrot, chopped fine
1/2 cup fennel, chopped fine (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
Cleaned shrimp from above
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, canned, or thawed frozen)
1 cup heavy cream, heated
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
Tabasco to taste
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
Make the bisque:
Melt the butter in a sauce pan large enough to accommodate all the ingredients. Saute the white parts of the green onion, celery, carrot, fennel, and garlic until soft. Stir in the cayenne. Add the shrimp and stir, cooking for several minutes, until the shrimp turns pink.
Add one cup of the stock from above, the corn, and add the heated cream. Stir while returning to a simmer briefly. Add a little more stock if necessary. Remove from heat.
Taste and adjust seasoning: add salt, black pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Stir in the parley and scatter the green onion tops over the surface.
Serve it up.