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Shellfish Bisque

Shellfish bisque in a two handled pot with chunky white fish and fresh chopped parsley

shellfish bisque recipe shellfish bisque recipe shellfish bisque recipe

Shellfish bisque. Creamy, rich and warming. Serves 4 as a starter. Best with No. 18 Chardonnay vermouth. Make in 1 hour.


  • 4  shallots thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves, fresh if possible
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 45ml brandy
  • 100ml In the loop dry white vermouth
  • 1l water
  • 500g lobster, crab and prawn shells (any mix of these)
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • To taste lemon Juice


Preheat the oven to 200℃.

To start, make sure the shells have no meat left in them and place them in a deep tray in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.

Heat the rapeseed oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped shallots, fennel, carrot and bay leaves and cook gently over a low heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Next remove the shells from the oven. By now they should all be pink and some starting to turn brown. Place the shells in the pan with the vegetables and deglaze the tray by placing it on the heat, adding the brandy and scraping the tray with a
wooden spoon or spatula. If you need more liquid use water at this point. Pour this liquid into the pan- this will add colour and flavour to your bisque as well as make the washing up easier.

Add the garlic to the pan, stir and cook for another minute before adding the tomato purée and vermouth. Reduce this by half before adding water to cover.
Cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes over a low heat.
Liquidise the soup until smooth using a strong blender. (If you are worried about blending the shells, you can always remove the biggest pieces first and discard these at this point.)

Pass the soup through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan, taking care to extract as much liquid as possible. The soup can now be reduced by half to intensify the flavour.

To serve:
When you are ready to serve, ensure the soup is seasoned well and finish it with a squeeze of lemon juice (If you add this too early it will lose its freshness.) Serve with pieces of your favourite shellfish and some crusty bread!


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