Roasted Shrimp and Coconut Bisque

There are certain recipes that feel really special when you serve them to family and friends, and if you are lucky, they are pretty quick and easy to put together as well. This is one of them.

We had a lovely physically-distanced brunch with old friends this weekend outdoor under my massive sugar maple tree. We said goodbye to summer in great style, with laughter, memories, and lots of shared food and wine, including some beautiful pastries to top everything off. 

I chose foods that I could prep the day before to make the day itself hassle free. I prepped and cooked all the frittata ingredients and in the morning, I just had to beat the eggs, start cooking them, add the veggies, and bake it all off. No time at all. It was easy to keep warm.

Make the day before

I also made the soup the day before and reheated it after we had leisurely done good damage to the appetizer course! 

For a starter, I put little Vermont-shaped cutting boards filled with treats at each couple’s place. None of this needed to be cooked, it was all assembly. Several Vermont cheeses: savory Bailey Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farms, Tangy Vermont Creamery Herbed Goat Cheese, and the most flavorful soft-ripened bloomy Mt. Alice from Von Trapp Farmstead. To the board I added a little bowl of Vermont Feta, sun-dried tomato, and black olive combo I mixed together, as well as a bit of prosciutto di Parma, some spiced nuts, and crackers. We nibbled on these all through our four-hour meal!

The soup was a hit, I’ve put emphasis on squeezing out as much flavor from the shrimp as possible. I’ve roasted it, used every bit of shell to make stock, and enhanced the stock every step of the way. I’ve also used a simple medley of vegetables that elevate the flavor of the shrimp without masking it. It might look like a lot of steps, but the process is pretty quick and I reuse both the stock pan and the roasting sheet to cut down on dishes!

Coconut flavor if you wish

If you use full-fat coconut, there will be a slight coconut flavor which is actually delicious with the shrimp and how I made it this weekend. If you use the light coconut milk, it will be a bit less creamy and no coconut flavor. Your choice.

Whenever I peel shrimp, I make a quick stock from the shells. It doesn’t take any longer to put the shells in a pot than the compost bin! Add some water, a bit of salt, bring it to a boil, simmer for a half hour, and you’re done with no babysitting. I freeze it if I’m not using it right away. Use it in soups, stews, as the liquid in rice, or even add to pasta boiling water!

While the veggies and shrimp roast, the stock simmers. Total time for everything is about 45 minutes.

Roasted Shrimp and Coconut Bisque

Makes 8 cups

  • 1 large sweet onion, thick slice
  • 1 bulb fennel, thick slice (reserve some fronds)
  • 1 large tomato, thick slice
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sweet paprika
  • 1 lb. wild raw shrimp with shells, 16-20 ct.
  • 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ dry sherry
  • 1 can coconut milk, regular or light
  • Fruity hot sauce to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the vegetables all around the same thickness, put the trimmings in a saucepan with a quart of water to begin a stock. Place the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet which you have drizzled with olive oil, sprinkle with a little more oil, and salt and pepper.  Bake for 20 minutes, and remove from the oven to turn over. They should be starting to fall apart and slightly browned. Return to the oven for about eight minutes. They will be soft, fragrant, and just a little browned.  Meanwhile, peel and devein the shrimp and add the peels to the stock pot along with a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover. Once the vegetables are roasted, let them cool a few minutes then place in a food processor or blender. Now, for the shrimps. Blot with a towel to dry completely, add a bit more oil to the same baking sheet, and place the shrimp single layer. Sprinkle with sweet paprika, salt, and pepper and the minced garlic. Try to keep as much of the garlic on the shrimp and not the pan! Roast the shrimp for eight minutes and remove from the oven, scraping out every bit of garlic and fond. To make even better use of the roasting pan, see “Boost Flavor Trick” below.
Roast the shrimp and garlic just until they are done and still nice and juicy.
Place one-third of the shrimp in the food processor along with the vegetables and process it all until nice and smooth. Strain the stock into a bowl, rinse out the pan, and add the stock back to the pan along with the vegetable/shrimp puree. Chop up the rest of the shrimp into small bite-sized pieces. I used 16-20 shrimp and cut them into three or four pieces. Reserve a few if you like for garnish. Return to the stove and reheat, adding the sherry and coconut milk. Add the hot sauce. I use Cholula because I love the fruity taste and level of heat. Use at least a little, or a lot! The bite from the heat really adds to the soup.
A perfect size! Cut up the shrimp however you desire!
Serve with a few reserved fennel fronds, a little chili oil, or croutons. Of course, if you want to enhance the coconut flavor even more, top with some toasted coconut flakes.

Quick Alternative:

Purchase some really good shrimp or other shellfish stock from your fish market and use that rather than making your own. Roast the shrimp and vegetables as above.

Boost Flavor Trick:

Lots of flavor when you combine a bit of water to a used roasting pan! Yes, all that is flavor that would go down the drain!
 One day when I was making a similar recipe, I put the roasting pan aside to assemble the meal, filling it with water to soak while we ate. Later, I scraped the bits from the pan. What I had was a beautiful, brown, stock base that I was throwing out! Light bulb moment! Since then, I ask myself if I can treat my roasting pan like a sauté pan loaded with fond. Sometimes, of course, a roasting pan has too many burnt edges, but in this case, the little trick enhances the flavor of the soup greatly. Another little bit that would be washed away rather than put to work.

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20 Comments Add yours

  1. I love this combination of flavours!!

    1. Thank you, it was certainly a hit!

  2. Wow! A great way to celebrate! I love summer but autumn has its beauty too!
    Lovely menu, and the food is even more delicious when you have your friends around 😉🤩

    1. Thank you! You are so right, the food tastes better when shared with friends!

  3. Lucky guests! This is a great combination of dishes. Soups always benefit from preparing a day in advance. 🙂

    1. Thanks Ronit! That’s such a good point, I should have pointed that out. I’m always so happy at the way the flavors develop over time.

  4. Sherry M says:

    this sounds so delicious dorothy. i like your idea of using the prawn shells for stock…

    1. Thank you! It makes all the difference!

  5. Ooh, la-la. Shrimpolicious! 🍂🍤

  6. Love all your brunch tips! The bisque sounds delicious.

    1. Thanks! Being prepared is even more important in this crazy time!

  7. Julia says:

    This sounds lovely and it is also dairy free, which means I can make it for Bruce! I love shrimp and Bruce loves creamy soups.

    1. Then you’ll both be happy with this!

  8. What a lovely brunch. I don’t know why but the setup reminds me of Mad Hatter’s tea party. I mean this in the loveliest way. Love the use of coconut milk. We go through a lot because we put them in curries.

    1. LOL! What’s funny about that is the giant sugar maple that sheltered this tea party is named Alice! I go through a ton of coconut milk as well, love it in curries and creamed soups!

  9. Congratulations to your interesting blog!
    have a nice day 🙂

  10. Christy B says:

    Oh gosh, I’m getting hungry now!

    1. This will satisfy!!!

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