• Scallop Bisque

    by  • January 6, 2014 • soup • 18 Comments

    This luscious and creamy Scallop Bisque is simple enough for a decadent weeknight dinner, yet luxurious enough to serve to guests on special occasions. 


    January is a month of balancing two basic food groups: healthy salads and not so healthy but oh so delicious soups. We balance this because we just can’t eat crisp, cool salads all winter long. The chilly, blizzard producing New England weather makes our body crave those steaming bowls of soups, stews, and bisques. So after sharing a recipe for a hearty sorghum salad, it’s time to warm up with a mug of creamy, decadent Scallop Bisque.

    Creamy Scallop Bisque

    After living on Cape Cod for the past three years, I’ve fallen in love with scallops. Their delicate, sweet flavor and light texture make them the perfect addition to any menu item. We received scallops from our favorite online seafood company, Anderson Seafoods, and this bisque became reality! These particular scallops are wild and natural, not treated with any chemicals at all. Harvested directly from the ocean, shucked right on deck, and then immediately frozen so they retain their freshness, these are a great item to have in the freezer for quick dinners.

    Scallop Bisque by Cooking with Books

    This bisque is simple to make but packed with great flavors! You start off by crisping up some bacon and then sautéing the classic mirepoix (25% carrots, 25% celery, 50% onion), adding stock, half and half, and some great seasonings, plus seared scallops. It’s a creamy, luscious soup that works for a weeknight meal served with a salad, or as a first course at a fancy dinner party.

    If you’re wondering, what makes a bisquea bisque? There’s lots of confusion everywhere – blogs, menus, recipes all over the internet. From what I’ve learned in culinary school and some research, a bisque HAS to have some sort of seafood in it: lobster, crab, scallop, shrimp. These all make amazing bisques. But I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for “tomato bisque” and don’t see any seafood in the ingredients list. So make sure you call a soup by it’s name and a bisque by it’s own name!

    Scallop Bisque

    Scallop Bisque

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook Time: 1 hour

    Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

    Yield: Serves 4

    Rich and creamy Scallop Bisque packed with classic mirepoix, bacon, and fresh herbs.


    • 4 strips of bacon, finely diced
    • 10 whole scallops
    • 3 stalks of celery, finely diced
    • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
    • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
    • 1 teaspoon concentrated tomato paste
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups fish stock*
    • 1 cup half-and-half
    • 2 tablespoons sherry or wine
    • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
    • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
    • salt, to taste


    1. In a medium stock pot over medium high heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon but leave the fat in the pot.
    2. Sear scallops on both sides in the bacon fat, remove from pan, and reserve.
    3. Lower heat to medium and sauté celery, carrots, and onion until translucent (about 10 minutes). Stir in tomato paste.
    4. Add butter and flour to make a light roux with the vegetables, and cook for another 5 minutes. Slowly add the fish stock, whisking until incorporated.
    5. Lower heat to medium low and add half-and-half, wine, Tabasco, and seasonings. Taste the bisque and season with salt to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes and add the reserve chopped crispy bacon.
    6. While simmering, chop scallops. Add scallops to simmering bisque and check seasoning.
    7. Serve topped with scallops, fresh parsley, and crispy bacon.


    Note: If you don't have fish stock, you can easily substitute with chicken or beef stock, although the seafood flavor won't be as prevalent. It's still delicious!


    More scallop recipes:


    As a freelance food & travel writer, I not only write for my own food blog, Cooking with Books, but collaborate with SheKnows, Honest Cooking, Marcus Samuelsson, and Startle – Forbes Travel Guide. My work has been published (online and in print) in Woman’s Day, NBC Latino, and other food publications.


    18 Responses to Scallop Bisque

    1. Pingback: Southwestern Chicken - Cooking with Books

    2. September 2, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      This will be happening in my kitchen SOON! I can’t think of enough ways to consume scallops!!!

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    4. Lisa
      December 9, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Oh, Nelly, made this today and it’s amazing! Only change was that I wanted to use a bag of small scallops I had in the freezer so I made the base and then tossed those in to cook at the last minute. The base itself was worth eating alone! Great recipe.

    5. December 9, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Oh, I need to make this! looks so good!

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    7. January 22, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      This looks glorious! So warm and cozy, I can’t resist!

    8. January 9, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      This looks amazing. I love bisque and with scallops looks delicious

    9. January 7, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      So making this, looks and sounds amazing!

    10. January 7, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      Thanks for the “Bisque” tutorial! This recipe makes me miss seafood, the cape, and you too!

    11. January 7, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      I love scallops… this sounds divine and so warming!

    12. January 7, 2014 at 11:49 am

      I’m making this. Lobster bisque is one of my faves and I’ve never had it with scallops! Scallops? Bacon? Cream? I am from New England you know. Looks amazing, I can’t wait to make this!

    13. January 7, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Seriously, how have I never had scallop bisue? This needs to happen.

    14. January 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      This soup sounds wonderful! What a great way to use one of my favorite flavors :)

    15. Nancy pardo
      January 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Love this

    16. January 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      This looks delicious! Roy is always making fun of the way I pronouce “scallop” (aaaaa) which is decidly not the Massachusetts way!

    17. January 6, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      Whoa, this looks amazing!!!

    18. January 6, 2014 at 9:08 am

      This looks incredible Marnely!

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