Yesterday, after poaching prawns for a project I’m busy with, I was left with a whole lotta shells and a will to do something with them. You see, when I cook prawns for my family, I usually pan fry them with lots of chilli, garlic and lemon. I eat them like a proper neanderthal. Sucking on the shells, etc. because honestly, that’s where all the flavour is. So when I was left with all these hollow prawn shells yesterday, I felt a desperate need to to use them. I decided to make a bisque but after researching online, saw that a bisque is made using the meat of the prawns as well. I knew that I would have to improvise a bit and so I did. The end result is a luxuriously silky, rich and fantastic bisque which is pretty much the essence of prawn. If you had some of the prawn meat, definitely add it as I think it would add even more flavour but if, like me you are just left with shells you can still do something fantastic with them.
- 500 g prawn shells and heads
- 1.5 litres chicken/fish stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
- 2 pieces of lemon peel yellow part only
- 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 1 garlic cloves crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup cream
- salt & pepper to taste
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1.5 tablespoons flour mixed with 1/2 cup water
- Fresh parsley chopped, to serve
Place the prawn shells and heads in a pot and add the stock, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, lemon peel and garlic. Bring up to a boil and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, covered until the stock is well infused by the shells.
In a separate pot, melt a little butter and fry the onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry for a few seconds before adding the smoked paprika, tomato paste and sugar.
Allow to fry for 30 seconds then pour in the prawn stock with the shells and heads.
Allow to simmer for 20 minutes then remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
When the stock has cooled down, blend, shells and all until the shells are broken up completely. Pass the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and then through a sieve lined with muslin once more into a clean pot. This is to make sure there is no grit or sediment in the bisque
Place the pot over a low heat and allow to come back up to heat. Pour in the cream. If the soup seems too thin at this stage (which it probably will be), whisk in the flour paste and allow to simmer gently for 10 minutes until the soup has thickened slightly. You don't want it to be too thick, it needs to be very 'soupy' still but also not watery.
Season to taste and serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.