Icelandic-Style Shrimp and Lobster Soup


For the stock:
1 tablespoon butter
3 to 4 lobster tail shells
Shrimp shells from 1 pound large (16/20 count) shrimp
1⁄4 cup dry sherry
1⁄2 cup white wine
Bouquet garni: 5 each sprigs thyme and parsley, 1 bay leaf and 5 whole peppercorns
1 large shallot, peeled
1 leek, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
pinch white pepper
pinch salt
6 to 7 cups water

In a stockpot over medium-high heat, sauté the shrimp and lobster shells until pink. Add the sherry and white wine, and simmer until reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and enough water to cover, about 6 to 7 cups. Simmer (do not boil) uncovered, for an hour, or until reduced to about 4 cups of liquid. Strain through a fine mesh cloth. Discard solids.

For the soup:
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup dry sherry
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste (preferably San Marzano)
3 canned plum tomatoes and their juice
4 cups shrimp and lobster stock
3 sprigs of thyme
1⁄2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
3 to 4 lobster tails, chopped
1 pound shelled large shrimp, chopped
White pepper and salt, to taste
Chili oil, for garnish (optional)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the shallot in butter until translucent. Add the sherry and simmer until reduced by half. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, stock and thyme. Simmer gently, covered for 20 minutes. Remove the thyme and puree with an immersion blender. Pass soup through a fine mesh cloth or sieve. Return to low heat and temper the cream with some of the hot soup, and slowly add to the soup. Adjust seasonings (white pepper, salt) to taste. Add the lobster and shrimp to the gently simmering soup. Simmer for 3 minutes, turn off the heat and cover for 2 to 3 minutes more. Serve immediately, garnished with a drizzle of chili oil, if desired. Serve with a crusty baguette or pumpernickel bread and butter. Serves 6 as a starter, 4 as a main course.

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