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East Coast Shellfish Bisque with Deben Sea Vegetables

Here is our east coast shellfish bisque with Deben sea vegetables, kindly provided by our Head Chef, Luke Bailey.

2kg native shellfish (Orford lobster, Deben or Cromer crab) keep meat for garnish
1kg shell on prawns
100ml olive oil
100g butter
1 stick celery, chopped
½ head garlic, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 shallots peeled and chopped
½ leek peeled and chopped
½ fennel bulb, peeled and chopped
½ red pepper, deseeded and chopped
½ orange zested
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
Bouquet garni(basil and tarragon)
A good pinch of saffron
2 kaffir lime leaves
6 ripe vine tomatoes/seeds scooped out
1 tbls tomato purée
350 ml white wine
750 ml fish stock
1tbls per nod or brandy
1 tbsp cream
½ lemon

Sea aster, sea purse lane and samphire foraged from the shores of the river Deben. Washed trimmed and blanched in salted water.


1. Crush the shellfish shells in a food processor or put them in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin, the more you break them up the better.

2. Tip them into a large hot pan with the olive oil and butter and cook them for ten minutes.

3. Add the chopped celery, garlic, carrots, shallots, leek, fennel, orange, coriander seeds, herbs and lime leaves and fry until well browned, with a strong shellfish aroma.

4. Add tomatoes and fry till juices evaporate, add wine and bring to boil.

5. Add stock and bring back to boil, add saffron and turn heat down. Simmer for 2 hours, skimming any scum that rises to top.

6. Pour everything through a sieve, pressing down on the shells and veg to extract maximum flavour. Pour through muslin or fine sieve to make sure any bits of shell have been removed.

7. Put the liquid back into clean pan, taste and boil until it has good strong flavour. Add per nod cream and lemon juice and bring back to boil. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Place pieces of cooked shellfish and sea vegetables into hot bowls, then pour over hot bisque and serve.

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