Lobster bisque

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

  • 3 lobster tails (about 150 gm each), shells removed and reserved
  • 400 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 100 ml pouring cream
  • To serve: mâche cress and toasted sourdough
  •  
  • Bisque
  • 200 gm prawn shells (see note)
  • 1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 50 gm onion (about ½ onion), coarsely chopped
  • 50 gm coarsely chopped fennel
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 6 golden shallots, peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 parsley stalks
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 25 gm butter, melted
  • 25 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 25 ml Cognac
  • 50 ml dry white wine
  • 50 gm tomato paste
  • 500 ml of fish and chicken stock
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  •  
  • Saffron mayonnaise
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 125 ml grapeseed oil
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
01   For bisque, preheat oven to 200C, coarsely crush reserved lobster shells and combine in a roasting pan with prawn shells, vegetables, garlic, herbs and peppercorns. Combine butter and oil and brush over shells and vegetables. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. Roast, stirring frequently, until fragrant and vegetables are tender and shells pink (30-40 minutes). Transfer to a large saucepan, add remaining ingredients except cayenne pepper, bring to the boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is reduced by about half (1-1½ hours). Cool, then blend ingredients in batches in a blender until smooth and pass through a fine sieve. Season to taste with sea salt, freshly ground white pepper and cayenne pepper.
02   Meanwhile, for saffron mayonnaise, pound garlic and saffron in a mortar and pestle to a smooth paste. Transfer to a food processor, add yolks and 1 tbsp lemon juice and process to combine. With motor running, gradually add oil in a steady stream, blending until thick and smooth. Season to taste with cayenne pepper, freshly ground white pepper and sea salt. Makes 200ml (enough to cover lobster).
03   Melt 300gm butter without colouring in a saucepan over low heat. Bring to 70C, add lobster and cook, turning once, until opaque (10-15 minutes). Break into pieces. Keep warm.
04   Bring bisque to the boil, add remaining butter and cream, whisk to combine. Divide lobster among bowls, ladle over bisque and serve scattered with mâche cress and toasted sourdough and saffron mayonnaise to the side.
Note Prawn shells are sold at fishmongers but may need to be ordered a day ahead.
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