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Four Stars: Soup's On – US Food Trends

21 November 2008

Traditional bisques are often based on seafood purees enriched with cream, but here are a few that employ a host of fresh headliners (plus one true classic).

This article first appeared in the 15 October 2008 issue of Restaurants & Institutions (R&I).

R&I is the USA's leading source of food and business-trend information and exclusive research on operators and restaurant patrons. Editorial coverage spans the entire foodservice industry, including chains, independent restaurants, hotels and institutions. Visit the R&I website to find out more about the magazine or to search its recipe database.

By Allison Perlik, Senior Editor

Yellow Tomato Bisque (pictured above)
Lewis University (Sodexo Campus Services), Romeoville, Ill.
Roasted yellow tomatoes and chicken stock form the foundation of Executive Chef Christopher Studtmann's catering-menu recipe. Saffron brightens the soup, which is thickened with a white-wine reduction, heavy cream and flour and garnished with a savory relish of pancetta, basil, peppers and red onion.

Sweet Onion Bisque

Sweet Onion Bisque
Sweet Onion Bisque

Capitol Grille at The Hermitage Hotel, Nashville, Tenn.
Chef Tyler Brown cooks sweet onions in butter for five hours to yield this simple yet richly flavored rendition. Heavy cream stirred into the puréed onions yields a silky texture, and the garnish of smoky bacon and chives balance the soup's sweetness. A crisp triangle of a grilled Brie sandwich adds a whimsical finish.

Acorn Squash Bisque

Acorn Squash Bisque
Acorn Squash Bisque

Nage Restaurant, Washington, D.C.
For a fall starter, Executive Chef-owner Kevin Reading blends roasted acorn squash with chicken stock, celery, carrots, pancetta and a dash of cream. Reading adds autumnal garnishes according to whim; here, it's bacon and a maple-syrup drizzle. Another favorite is diced apples and a house-made maple-syrup marshmallow.

Lobster Bisque

Lobster Bisque
Lobster Bisque

Legal Sea Foods, multiple locations
. This classic bisque is a staple year-round at the 34-unit Boston-based seafood chain. Executive Chef Rich Vellante's recipe starts with seafood stock, fish base and light cream; the velvety soup is finished with butter and sherry wine and crowned with a sweet chunk of steamed lobster and a sprinkling of chives.

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