Prawn Bisque: A Creamy and Delicious Seafood Soup – Seaco Online
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Prawn Bisque: A Creamy and Delicious Seafood Soup

If you're a seafood lover, you've probably heard of prawn bisque. This creamy and flavourful soup is a classic French dish that is perfect as a starter or appetizer. Prawn bisque is typically made with prawn shells, which are simmered in a broth to extract their flavour. The broth is then strained and thickened with cream to create a velvety soup.

A steaming bowl of prawn bisque sits on a rustic wooden table, garnished with a swirl of cream and a sprinkle of fresh herbs

Preparing the prawns is an important step in making prawn bisque. You'll need to remove the shells and heads from the prawns, but don't throw them away! The shells and heads are used to make the broth, which is the base of the soup. You can also use store-bought seafood stock if you don't have the time to make your own.

Preparing the Prawns

Deveining and Removing Shells

Before making prawn bisque, you need to prepare the prawns properly. Start by removing the shells and tails from the prawns. You can leave the tails on for presentation purposes, but it is not necessary.

Next, you need to devein the prawns. To do this, make a shallow incision down the back of each prawn with a sharp knife. Use the tip of the knife to lift out the dark vein and discard it. Rinse the prawns under cold running water to remove any remaining debris.

Prawns being peeled and deveined, shells simmering in a pot, aromatic vegetables being sautéed, and broth being added to create a flavorful prawn bisque

Making Prawn Stock

To make a rich and flavourful prawn bisque, you need to use homemade prawn stock. Don't throw away the prawn shells, as they are the key ingredient for making the stock.

In a large pot, sauté the prawn shells in some oil until they turn pink and fragrant. Add water and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, then strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the shells and reserve the prawn stock for later use.

Using homemade stock will give your prawn bisque a deeper, more complex flavour than using store-bought stock. Plus, making your own stock is a great way to reduce waste and save money.

Remember to always use fresh, sustainable prawns for the best results. The sea is a precious resource, so make sure to choose seafood that has been responsibly sourced.

Creating the Bisque

A chef stirs a pot of creamy prawn bisque over a simmering stove, adding aromatic herbs and spices for flavor

Sautéing the Base Vegetables

To start making your prawn bisque, you will need to sauté the base vegetables. In a large pot, heat a mixture of butter and oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic to the pot and sauté them until they are soft and fragrant. This will take about 10 minutes.

Blending and Straining

Once your vegetables are sautéed, add flour and tomato paste to the pot and stir to combine. Gradually pour in your fish stock, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Add bay leaves and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes.

After the mixture has simmered, remove the bay leaves and blend the mixture until it is smooth. Pour the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps or vegetable pieces.

Final Seasoning and Serving

Return the bisque to the pot and season it with black pepper, salt, lemon juice and paprika. Add double cream and let the mixture simmer for another 10 minutes.

To serve, ladle the bisque into bowls and garnish with croutons and a drizzle of cream. Enjoy your smooth and flavourful prawn bisque!

Frequently Asked Questions

A steaming bowl of prawn bisque sits on a rustic wooden table, garnished with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and a drizzle of cream

How do you make a simple prawn bisque?

To make a simple prawn bisque, you'll need to start by making a prawn stock. This can be done by simmering prawn shells and heads with aromatics like onions, carrots, and celery. Once the stock is made, you can strain it and use it as the base for your bisque.

Sauté some onions and garlic in butter, add flour to make a roux, then slowly whisk in the prawn stock. Add some cream, season with salt and pepper, and purée the mixture until smooth. Finally, add some cooked prawns and garnish with fresh herbs.

What distinguishes a bisque from other soups?

What distinguishes a bisque from other soups is that it's made with shellfish, such as prawns, crab, or lobster. It's also typically thickened with cream and puréed to a smooth consistency. Bisques are known for their rich, velvety texture and deep, complex flavour.

Which ingredients are essential for a traditional prawn bisque?

The essential ingredients for a traditional prawn bisque are prawns, prawn shells and heads, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, butter, flour, cream, salt, and pepper. Some recipes may also call for additional aromatics like thyme, bay leaves, or fennel.

Can you use prawn bisque as a sauce for pasta dishes?

Yes, you can use prawn bisque as a sauce for pasta dishes. Simply cook your pasta according to the package instructions, then toss it with the bisque and some cooked prawns. Garnish with fresh herbs and grated Parmesan cheese.

What's the origin of prawn bisque?

The origin of prawn bisque can be traced back to France, where it was originally made with lobster. Over time, the recipe evolved to include other shellfish like prawns and crab.

How do you properly pronounce 'bisque'?

The proper pronunciation of 'bisque' is 'bisk'.