Serves 8 starters / 4 main meals
Reference: Good Housekeeping, December 2011, page 203
For the stock: Fish heads and various discarded fish items Left over veg: Leek, onion, carrot, a few chillies, boiling water.
800g Raw Prawns
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion
3 celery sticks
4 large carrots, chopped
200ml white wine
2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
3 pints of fish stock
300ml double cream
100g White crab meat
You will need:
We created our own fish stock before starting the bisque. I had asked at Haymans Fisheries if they sold fish stock, they didn’t however they gave me a bag of fish bits: heads/tails etc. making my own stock was a first for me, and it was worth it. I put the fish bits into a pan, and added some root vegetables that were left over from the week, including: leek, green pepper, carrot, small chunk of swede and chilli. Topping the pan up with boiling water and allowed to simmer for an hour. This could have taken longer, for more depth in flavour but an hour was all the time I had spare.
Peel the prawns, de-vein and put them in the fridge to chill. line the plate with kitchen paper to take the excess water away.
Taking the shells, heads and legs of the prawns, put them into a large saucepan. add the oil to the pan, and put the pan over a medium heat. Fry for 5mins crushing the shells/heads/legs with a wooden spoon. Add the chopped celery, onion and carrots to the pan, fry for 10mins stirring occasionally.
Pour in the wine and leave bubbling to awaken the alcohol. Add the paprika and cook for 1min. Now add the tomatoes and stock, leave to simmer for 30mins.
Blend the contents of the pan, shells included until it’s smooth, as smooth as possible any way. Now pour the soup through a fine sieve, discarding the pulp that won’t go through the sieve. Rinse the food processor, but don’t pack it away, you’ll need it in a few mins.
Put the pan back on the heat and add the raw peeled prawns, leave out 2 prawns per person bring the soup up to a simmer and bubble for 5mins. Using the slotted spoon take the prawns out and add to the food processor, along with a few ladlefuls of the soup. Blend the prawns and then return to the pan.
Add the cream and most of the crab into the pan, make sure the soup is piping hot, check the seasoning and then serve into your bowls, scatter the remaining crab, a drizzle of oil.
It took just over an hour from start to finish, not including the time taken to create the stock.
The recipe suggests serving with rosemary croutes, but earlier in the day I had purchased sourdough bread, which was great to have with the soup. It reminded me of Lobster Bisque from Boston, USA.