Let's Talk with Nancy J. Cohen

Happy National Seafood Bisque Day!

October 19, 2023

Anytime there’s mention of food, I’m your gal. But what is a bisque? And how is it different from chowder?

Both variations have their origins in French fishing villages. From what I’ve read, bisque is made from pureed shellfish. This can be crab, lobster, crayfish, or shrimp. Vegetables may be added, like carrots, celery, and onions along with white wine and heavy cream. The cream content here is higher than for chowders. As for a thickening agent, this might be shellfish shells ground into a fine paste, a roux, or rice that is strained out at the end. Bisques are smooth soups and can be made entirely with vegetables such as roasted tomatoes or butternut squash.

Chowders, on the other hand, are chunkier with pieces of diced or chopped meat such as clams or fish. These soups also include milk or heavy cream. Chowders get their thickness mostly from vegetables such as potatoes. A chowder can also be made without seafood, such as corn or potato chowder. Some chowders, like Manhattan clam chowder, use a red tomato-based broth.

Cooking methods differ as well. To make chowder, you can toss all the ingredients into a pot. Bisques require more work, with the seafood being cooked twice, the thickening agent being added, and then the soup being pureed or strained for a smooth consistency. Garnishes are fancier for a bisque as well, making it an appealing choice in an upscale restaurant.

What’s your favorite type of seafood bisque or chowder?

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Posted in Let's Talk, with Nancy J. Cohen • Tags: , , , |  47 Comments


47 thoughts on “Happy National Seafood Bisque Day!

  1. Love Lobster Bisque as do many of your other commenters. This isn’t really a Bisque I don’t think, but Savannah’s She Crab Soup with a touch of Sherry added at the table is fantastic.

  2. I’m not a chowder eater, never had seafood till I got much older, I do like catfish, and salmon.

  3. I’m not a big fan of seafood chowder or bisque. I do like seafood, but not in bisque or chowder form.

  4. My favorite is New England Clam Chowder. I also make a Shrimp and Corn Chowder that we really like!

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