Recipe of the week: “Homard Grille” with fennel and sweetcorn

This dish is a take on a classic lobster bisque using the freshest Scottish lobster. The addition of the lightly soused fennel and the anise flavour of the tarragon help to freshen the dish up, making it an ideal spring/summer starter. The sweet claw meat also adds an extra dimension to the finished bisque.

Homard Grille

Ingredients

2 whole lobster, 500g-700g each
2 fennel bulbs
500g freshly cobbed corn
250g unsalted butter
30g popcorn kernels
400ml lobster stock
300ml corn juice
White wine vinegar
1 lemon
200ml double cream
Salt
10g caster sugar
10 sprigs fresh tarragon
20g diced ginger
20g diced garlic
50ml cognac
50ml dry vermouth
300ml tomato juice
1 tsp saffron
2 star anise
10 cardamon pods
100g creme fraiche

To finish

Clarified butter
Fennel tips

Directions

Soused fennel

Half a fennel bulb down through the centre & on a fine mandoline cut 4 whole slices

Coat them with 5g salt, 10g sugar, 5g lemon juice and 5g white wine vinegar, and leave at room temperature until ready to serve. Reserve the remaining fennel for the bisque sauce.

Fennel soubise

Finely slice the other whole bulb of fennel & cook down gently with 100g butter & a pinch of salt until soft

Cover with the double cream & simmer for 10 mins until the cream has reduced by about half

Transfer to a blender & blend until very smoothe

Correct the seasoning with salt, lemon juice & a touch of pernod before passing through a chinoise

Lobster

Heat a pan of salted water to about 55-60 degrees and place the lobsters in.

Leave for 4 minutes before removing the lobsters.

Transfer them to a tray, cover with cling film & leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Gently remove all the tail meat in one piece & reserve until ready to chargrill before finishing.

Remove all the claw meat & finely dice for the finished bisque.

Reserve all the shells for the bisque also.

Corn bisque

Melt the remaining butter in a large sauce pan & add sliced fennel trims, the ginger, garlic, half the tarragon & the spices with a pinch of salt. Cook until starting to soften.

Add the cognac, vermouth & tomato juice & reduce by half.

Add the corn juice, lobster stock, chopped lobster shells, saffron and 350g of the sweetcorn.

Bring to the boil, lower the heat & reduce until sauce consistency.

Whisk in the creme fraiche before straining off the sauce through a fine chinoise.

Correct the seasoning with salt, lemon juice & a little more cognac before adding the chopped lobster meat, 100g sweetcorn and some finely chopped tarragon.

To finish

Heat a little clarified butter in a sauce pan.

Add the remaining sweetcorn along with the popcorn kernels & cover with a lid

Keep on the heat until you hear the kernels beginning to pop

Remove from the heat & allow to stand for 3-4 mins until the popping has stopped

Lightly season & oil the lobster tails & colour quickly on a very hot chargrill

Remove the lobster & gently slice before arranging in bowls with the soubise, toasted corn, soused fennel & fennel tips.

Serve the bisque sauce on the side.

Thank you to Paul O’Malley, Head Chef at Culcreuch Castle, Fintry, Scotland, for the recipe.

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