- 500 g raw prawns, without heads
- 4 tablespoons dry white wine
- 4 slices of lemon
- 4 black peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 2 sprigs of fresh parsley, stalks bruised
- 1 bulb of fennel
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (20 g) butter
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 1 French shallot, finely chopped
- ½ cup (40 g) fine white breadcrumbs, made from day–old slices of bread
- pinch of paprika
- 1 red capsicum, seeded and finely diced
- salt and pepper
- chopped leaves from the fennel bulb, or fresh herb fennel, to garnish
- Peel the prawns and set them aside.
- Place the shells in a large saucepan.
- Pour in 1.
- 25 litres cold water and add the wine, lemon slices, peppercorns and parsley.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Skim off any scum that rises to the surface during cooking.
- Meanwhile, use a small sharp knife to make a shallow slit along the curved back of each prawn.
- With the tip of the knife remove the black vein and discard it.
- Cover and chill the prawns until required.
- Allow the prawn–shell stock to cool slightly, then discard the lemon slices.
- Line a sieve with muslin and place it over a large bowl.
- Process the stock in a blender or food processor until the shells are finely ground, then strain the stock through the muslin–lined sieve.
- Coarsely chop 85 g of the fennel, and finely chop the remainder of the bulb.
- Place the finely chopped fennel in a bowl, add the lemon juice and toss, then cover closely with plastic wrap and set aside.
- Melt the butter with the oil in the rinsed–out saucepan.
- Add the coarsely chopped fennel and the shallot.
- Cook, stirring frequently, over a moderate heat for about 8 minutes or until the vegetables are soft but not browned.
- Stir in the breadcrumbs, paprika and stock.
- Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat so that the soup simmers.
- Add the prawns and continue simmering for 3 minutes.
- Use tongs to remove 6 prawns; set them aside.
- Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
- Purée the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Return to the pan and add the finely chopped fennel and the capsicum.
- Serve garnished with the reserved prawns and chopped fennel leaves.
Preparation: about 25 minutes, plus cooling
Cooking: about 55 minutes