Have you ever had prawn bisque at a restaurant and wondered how you could recreate it back in your home? To remind you of those summer days spent by the sea, listening to the gentle lapping of the waves and the fishermans boats bobbing around in the water on the horizon. We associate food with memories and I hope my prawn bisque will bring back happy memories when you make it. It’s surprisingly very simple indeed. Basically the next time you are cooking prawns in the shells – perhaps on the BBQ like we did.
OR even a curry – perhaps my Bengali prawn curry – make sure you keep the heads and tails – in fact the whole shell, as you will then be able to make the most exquisite prawn bisque afterwards. The pile of shells may not look pretty or particularly appetising, but I can assure you that after you’ve added the ingredients listed below and let it simmer gently for half an hour, all the flavours from the prawn shells are drawn out. Don’t worry about the heads and tails – that all gets blitzed up and then after going through a sieve the bisque is completely smooth and delicate.
Seriously it is so good there will be no going back once you have made it once.
All the prawn shells and heads from the prawns you used from your BBQ/curry. I had 800g of prawns and used all the shells
(even if I have a little less I still follow the same recipe and the same goes if you have a little more)
cover the prawns completely with boiling water
1 red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 bay leaves
5 black peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
juice of quarter of a lemon
1 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 (half) tsp white sugar, optional
salt to taste
1 tsp cornflour – 3 tsp cold water
- Place the prawns shell and heads in a deep pan and cover completely with boiling water.
- Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, red onion and garlic to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Using a hand blender blend the contents of the pan. This might sound unusual to blend the shells and heads, but trust me the flavour that comes from them is incredible.
- Place the contents of the pan through a fine sieve. Use the back of a spoon to push all the goodness through. What comes through should be a completely fine liquid. Discard the remaining shells that have not gone through the sieve. Overall it will make around 800ml-1 litre of liquid.
- In the same pan add the butter and when it is melted add the tomato puree, smoked paprika, lemon juice and sugar. Add the prawn broth liquid and stir gently. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
- In a small bowl add the cornflour and cold water to make a smooth paste and then add the broth to thicken slightly. Simmer gently for a further few minutes. Add more water if necessary.
- Season further to taste and then serve. You could also easily freeze this once it has cooled ready to use on a separate occasion.