CRAYFISH

I now have enough crayfish bodies in my freezer to make one of my favourite soups - Bisque! There are so many variations on this fragrant, creamy soup. I like to use leftovers especially from strong flavoured crustaceans such as crayfish, crabs, prawns (shells). Once you have made the broth you can then add shell fish or perhaps add some fresh fennel and poach the sliced bulb in the broth. Serve it with some crunchy homemade croutons, and pungent aioli!




CRAYFISH BISQUE


900g crayfish bodies, crabs etc
50g butter
50g onion, chopped
50g carrot, chopped
50g celery, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 Tablespoon cognac (if you have it)
½ tin tomatoes or 4 fresh
1 teaspoon tomato puree
85 ml dry white wine
1 good size sprig of fresh tarragon
1.75 ml fish stock
50 ml cream
Pinch cayenne pepper
Juice of ¼ lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Melt the butter in a heavy-based pot, add the carrots, onion, and celery, cook without colouring. Add the crayfish bodies and crush with a heavy spoon. Put the lid on and continue to cook gently for at least 20 minutes. This stage is vital as you are wanting to extract as much flavour from the crayfish and vegetables as possible. Add the bay leaf and cognac (if using), allow to boil off then add the tomatoes, tomato puree, wine, tarragon and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Keep trying to crush up the crayfish shells through out cooking as the meat left sticking to the shells hold’s all the flavour.
Remove any tough shells from the soup before liquidizing in a food processor in two or three batches.
Process in short bursts until the shell is broken into small pieces about the size of your finger nail. You don’t want to processor the shell to fine as you are not wanting to extract the flavour from the shell rather from the meat.
Pass the soup through a sieve, pushing through as much liquid as possible. Then, pass the soup through a fine strainer before returning to the heat. Bring to the boil, add the cream then season with cayenne, lemon juice, salt and cracked pepper. Reduce the volume by simmering if you think the flavour needs concentrating. Once you have reached the desired flavour (which should be heavily fragrant with crayfish) you can either eat as is or poach some seafood off as I have mentioned before. Either way it is worth the effort put into preparing this memorable soup.