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Oyster & Prawn Bisque

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  • Ready in: 1 hour
  • Serves: 6
  • Complexity: very easy
  • Origin: Starters
Oyster & Prawn Bisque

Ingredients

  • 450 g fish bones or cleaned heads of 1 dozen king prawns plus Bodies of the prawns, deveined & shelled
  • 1 dozen fresh oysters, shucked ( no shell )
  • 45 g butter
  • 2 medium leeks ( white part only ), chopped
  • 4 shallots - if available or 1 large onion, chopped
  • Other aromatic greens ideal in a fish stock - E.g celery, fennel stalks, parsley, bay leaves
  • 4 shallots extra
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 350 ml white wine
  • 700 ml cold water
  • 3 - 4 saffron strands
  • 45 g cake flour
  • 200 ml fresh cream
  • 2 tablespoons Noilly Prat
  • salt & pepper to season

Directions

One of the acquired skills in cooking, is learning to improvise using ingredients at hand. Fish bones can be readily obtained at any fish shop; we have used King prawns as they were given to us as part of the "mystery basket" . What is nice about cleaning one's own prawns is that one can then use the cleaned heads to make a really tasty fish stock, and the bodies used for another dish.

  1. Chop the fish bones onto pieces so that they can fit into the stock pot.
  2. Melt the butter ( or a 50/50 mixture butter & olive oil ) in a large pot over a medium heat.
  3. Add the fish bones and the vegetables, and cook for approx. 2 - 3 minutes, until the vegetables have brightened in colour but are not cooked through.
  4. Add the peppercorns and the wine and bring to the boil - NO water yet - once it has boiled , reduce to a medium heat. Let the wine -fishbone-vegetable mixture now cook at a medium heat until the ingredients in the pot have reduced by half in volume - NOW add the water and return to the boil, skimming off any froth that rises to the surface with a small tea strainer.
  5. Immediately lower the heat and simmer gently for no longer than 20 - 25 minutes. If you simmer the fish stock for longer - it will become bitter - 20 minutes is sufficient.
  6. Remove from the heat and strain the stock through a normal sieve/strainer, pressing gently down onto the solids so as to extract all the liquid.
  7. Return the sieved fish stock to a clean pot and taste - if you feel that the flavour is not intense enough, reduce with the lid off for another 5 - 10 minutes. Taste again - now you can season the reduced stock with salt and pepper to taste - not before, because liquid evaporates, salt does not - if adding slat during the reducing of the fish stock, it will more than likely end up much too salty.
  8. Into another clean saucepan/ pot, add 45 g butter, the 4 extra chopped shallots or 1 large onion finely chopped (if shallots not available)
  9. Sautee finely chopped onions with about three saffron strands until the onions are glazed. Add the 45 g flour and make a "blond roux" - cook the butter and flour together until golden brown.
  10. Now add the freshly prepared strained fish stock , and whisk briskly with a balloon whisk to prevent lumps form forming. The soup should have the consistency of pouring cream.
  11. Bring the soup to the boil - now add the deveined, cleaned prawn bodies to the soup, ( the heads of which made up the stock. ) , as well as one dozen freshly shucked Oysters. (Add both with all their juices for flavour).
  12. Remove from heat, as the prawns and oysters cook very quickly in the boiling liquid - once the soup is off the direct heat, add 200 ml fresh cream, some Noilly Prat (approx. 2 Tablespoons) , and check for seasoning - is there enough salt and pepper.
  13. Serve in a soup bowl with a twirl of fresh cream and a dash of cayenne pepper on top, two cooked prawns on the edge of the bowl get the tastebuds going, not to mention the smell of a most flavoursome and unexpectedly delicious oyster and prawn bisque.