Classic Fish Bisque

Serves : 6
Prep : 1 hour 20 min
Cook : 30 mins

Ingredients:
8oz/225g shrimps or prawns with shells on
2 bay leaves
1 leek, trimmed and sliced
2 sticks of celery, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
6 peppercorns
2oz/50g butter
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1oz/25g plain flour
2 tblsp/30ml tomato puree
3 tblsp/45ml dry sherry
8oz / 225g cod fillet, skinned
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tblsp/15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tblsp/45ml double cream
Salt and pepper

Croutons:
4 slices white bread
3 tblsp/45ml olive
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tblsp/30ml chopped fresh parsley
4 tblsp/90ml single cream

Step One : Peel the shrimps or prawns, reserving the shells and set aside. Place the shells in a large pan with the bay leaves, leek, celery, carrot and peppercorns. Pour over 1pt/600ml cold water and bring to boil. reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Step Two : Strain the stock through a sieve lined with muslin and set aside. Melt the butter in a large pan and fry the chopped onion very gently for about 10 minutes, until softened. Sprinkle over the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Step Three : Gradually pour the stock over the onion, stirring until thickened slightly. Stir in the tomato puree and dry sherry. Add the peeled shrimps or prawns. Cut the cod fillet into bite-sized cubes and add to the pan. cover and allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes.

Step Four : Stir in the cayenne and lemon juice. Allow to cool a little then liquidise in a food processor, in batches, until very smooth. Return to a rinsed out pan and stir in the cream and seasoning to taste. Heat through until almost boiling.

Step Five : To make the croutons, remove the crusts from the bread and cut into small squares. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the garlic for 1 minute. Add the cubes of bread and cook gently on both sides until just golden. Drain croutons on absorbent kitchen paper then toss in the chopped parsley.

Step Six : Spoon the fish bisque into warmed serving dishes, top with a few croutons and add a swirl of cream to serve.

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