Tender shellfish, such as oysters, are prime candidates for quickly made soups. With a minimum of on-the-stove cooking, fresh Oyster Bisque is ready to serve in just 35 minutes.
Since oysters cook at a relatively low temperature--about 130 degrees--they are done as soon as they come in contact with the simmering soup broth added to the processor in a thin stream. This method of cooking, called instant-blanching, takes about one minute and can also be used to make quick scallop bisque or soups made of vegetables.
Once the soup is completely assembled and seasoned, it can be set aside for several hours before serving, or cooled and refrigerated overnight. Care must be taken when reheating the soup not to allow it to boil, otherwise it can become grainy and may separate.
If the soup does separate or if the texture seems too grainy, both solids and liquids should be reprocessed in 2-cup batches.
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
2 (1/2-pound) leeks split, rinsed
1 small potato, peeled, cubed
1 quart fish or chicken stock
1 dozen fresh oysters, shucked
2 cups half and half
1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy
Ground black pepper
Hot pepper sauce
Insert metal blade in processor. Mince garlic by adding to machine with motor on. Trim leeks, removing roots and green leaves. Cut leeks into 1-inch chunks. Add leeks and potato to machine and finely chop with 1-second pulses. Transfer contents of container to large saucepan. Add stock. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.
Remove vegetables from saucepan and transfer to processor. Set aside 1 cup hot cooking liquid. Process vegetables until pureed, then with motor on pour cup of hot cooking liquid into machine within 30 seconds. Set pureed vegetable mixture aside.
Add oysters to machine and process until pureed. Heat remaining stock to simmering then remove 1 cup. With motor on, add cup of hot stock to processor within 1 minute.
Stir pureed vegetable and oyster mixtures into saucepan. Then stir in half and half and Cognac. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Stir soup over low heat just until hot but do not allow to boil. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve immediately. (If soup separates when reheated, process in 2-cup batches with metal blade until blended.) Makes 6 servings.