Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Well, grill mah cheese...

We've had a break in the heat and humidity today so figured it was now or never to finally use the lobster stock that's been waiting patiently in the fridge. I made lobster bisque according to this recipe and... meh, it was ok. It came out awfully salty so I had to dilute everything down quite a bit to cut the salt*. Considering all the work that went into making it, I'd say it was not really worth the effort. It was tasty and I'm sure B will enjoy the leftovers, but I won't go out of my way to make it again.

What do you serve with lobster bisque?
Why, grilled cheese sandwiches, of course! ;) Soup and grilled cheese finds it's way onto our dinner menu often in the winter months... though not so much in the summer. Assuming you don't go overboard making fancy soup like I did, it's a quick and satisfying weeknight meal and can be unbelievably comforting after a rainy and/or stressful day.

Grilled cheese is fairly straightforward to make, though I'm sure most of us have our little tricks and techniques. If you happen to have two cast iron skillets, Alton Brown has the ultimate easy and delicious way to make a grilled cheese sandwich... I highly recommend giving it a try. The grilled cheese bit starts at about 8 minutes in (before that he talks about fondue):

* Often you'll hear tips for how to cut salt in a dish when you've over-seasoned it. In my experience, there really is not way to remove salt once it's been added. The best you can do is try to avoid over-salting in the first place, but if it's too late for that, you can aim to mask, dilute or counteract it. Sugar, in the form of sugar, honey, molasses, caramelized onions, tomato paste, etc can help mask saltiness. Acid such as lemon juice or vinegar can often counteract salt, but be gentle... an overly acid dish can be as bad or worse as an overly salty one. Most often, though, your best bet is to dilute... which means adding more of other ingredients in the dish to balance things back out. 

In the case of my bisque, I diluted with a few cups of water and added a bit of lemon juice and this brought down the saltiness a fair amount, but made the finished soup thinner than I wanted. While the dish already had rice in it (which served as a thickener once blended), I remembered another bit of 'kitchen wisdom' that said adding bread to a dish would help cut the salt. While I knew it wouldn't do anything to the actual amount of salt, once it softened in the soup and I gave it a quick blend, it would help thicken the soup back up after adding water, so I was able to bring the dish back into balance without losing it's thickness.

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