Valentine’s Dinner for Two: Lobster + Fennel Soup

Lobster + Fennel SoupOh, you darling Valentine’s Day, why do you stress couples/non-coupled people out? Why must you hype LOVE up on just one day. Okay, I’ll cave it’s nice to be extra loving towards your special someone, but I’d rather kick up my lovey dovey attitude the whole month of February rather than just a day. And why must restaurants be ridiculously hard to get dinner reservations for the 14th, oh and then rack up prices. I simply don’t get it, and honestly would rather do anything else but go to a fancy dinner out on Valentine’s Day.

To me, there is nothing sweeter, and done with love than cooking together in the calmness of your home. Comfortable or dressed a bit special, no one watching, no one having a conversation right next to you, or worse, honing in on your conversation, or having to wait for your water glass to be refilled. I’m lucky that J and I both went to culinary school, so we love food and cooking together more so. Music playing in the background, a glass of our favorite wine which we sip in between working together on creating our meal, and let’s not forget more chances for romantic kisses and sweet hugs. Okay, enough of the lovey-dovery mushiness, but to me that is Valentine’s Day. J and I will be cooking ourselves a romantic meal again this year, and I couldn’t want it any other way. 

And if you plan on staying in with your love too, I’ve got a REAL special, simple, and romantic meal for you…a bowl of this Lobster and Fennel soup! 

Valentines Dinner for Two: Lobster + Fennel SoupI first made this lobster and fennel soup a few years back for my family on Christmas Day, and it was a big hit. I mean out of this world delicious! I don’t know why it’s taken me this many years to make it again, because it really is one of the most delicious things I’ve made. And it really is a special dish, not one you’d whip up every week or month, unless you crave lobster that often. I often associate lobster with special occasions; Christmas, or weddings, mostly because lobster is rather expensive if eaten frequently. It’s the kind of special ingredient you want to make for your loved ones. Lobster + Fennel SoupThis soup is one I’ve raved on and on about, especially to J, who had never tried it. So for my mother’s birthday this weekend, I just had to make it for the four of us. It was a birthday after all, and memorable meals are a must. Like my take on Valentine’s day, my mother is simple, not one for receiving gifts on her birthday, rather she prefers a home cooked meal and cake. So that’s exactly what she got. Lobster + Fennel SoupAdapted from the simplistic delicious cooking of Cannelle et Vanille, this soup is really an easy one to make, but its flavor is decadent and heavenly. It does require some time to make though, as it has three major steps; blanching the lobster and shrimp, sautéing the shells for the stock, and then finally bringing everything together with fennel, tarragon, coconut milk and buttermilk. 

The end result is a broth infused with so much flavor! It’s light and refreshing yet actually filling. A small bowlful is plenty. Which is why it makes for a perfect Valentine’s meal, because the last thing you need is to feel full and want to sit on the couch and not move. Nothing romantic about that. Lobster + Fennel Soup

Valentines Dinner for Two: Lobster + Fennel SoupWhen you have ingredients this good, a simple soup is bound to be especially delicious. I love the taste of fennel, especially when slightly charred and paired with sweet seafood. The coconut milk is what really makes for this soup’s lightness, and since I don’t often like creamy soups, this one has buttermilk instead of heavy cream. 

Plus I like that this lobster and fennel soup takes some time to make, it gives you more time to spend with your love. Paired with a chilled bottle of Cabernet Savignon, fresh winter salad, and the sweet treat of your choice, how could this not be the most perfect way to spend Valentine’s day. I know for me, it comes down to food J and I share, but that’s how our love bonds. Valentines Dinner for Two: Lobster + Fennel SoupJust remember this Valentine’s Day don’t give in to having to celebrate in a fancy way, or spending money on gifts. Spend it in the way that’s special for the two of you, and if you’re not coupled up, then this lobster and fennel soup is everyone reason to treat yourself with love!

Seriously don’t wait years to make it, like I did, or the holidays, we all deserve to be given a delicious meal made with love like this one. And because writing this post has me craving it all over again!! {OH, and because it’s National Homemade Soup day, this post couldn’t come at a more perfect day…}Lobster + Fennel SoupLobster + Fennel Soup

Lobster + Fennel Soup

Ingredients {Serves 4}

3 – Dried Bay Leaves

1 pound – Lobster Tails {fresh or frozen, defrost completely before if using}

1 pound – Raw Shrimp {fresh or frozen, defrost completely before if using}

2 tablespoons – Extra Virgin Olive Oil {more for drizzling}

4 sprigs – Tarragon

2 tablespoons – Whiskey 

3 tablespoons – Unsalted Butter

1 small – Leek {sliced}

1 small – Fennel Bulb {sliced, greens removed}

1 cup – Unsweetened Coconut Milk

1 cup – Buttermilk

Sea salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Smoked Paprika, optional

Recipe {Adapted from Cannelle et Vanille}

In a medium saucepan, bring 8 cups of water to a boil, with a pinch of salt and bay leaves. Add the lobster tails and cook for 5 minutes, then add the shrimp 3 minutes in. The meat will not be fully cooked, as it will continue to cook later on. Remove the lobster and shrimp from the water and allow to cool slightly. Reserve the cooking liquid. Once the lobster and shrimp are cool enough to touch, separate the shell from the meat. Dice the meat, and reserve the shells.

Heat a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, reserved lobster shells, shrimp shells, if using, and tarragon. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shells start to toast. Slowly add the whiskey afrffsnd cook until alcohol evaporates slightly. Add the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced {about 8 minutes}. Strain the liquid so that you have about 1 1/2 cups, and discard shells.

Place the same medium pot over medium-high heat, add the butter, leeks, fennel and a pinch of salt. Cook until tender but not browned {about 3 to 5 minutes}. Add the diced lobster and shrimp, cooking liquid, coconut milk and buttermilk. Cook for another minute until all the ingredients are heated through and both the lobster and shrimp are fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with paprika and a drizzle of olive oil.

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