Take me to the seaside, fill my tummy with food and put a drink in my hand and I will never ask for another thing. Maybe.
6 Dublin bay prawns/ langoustine
1 onion - Remove skin and root and quarter
2 stick of celery cut in to 1inch chunks
2 small carrots peeled and cut in to 1inch chunks
1 clove minced garlic
5 vine tomatoes
50mls Brandy or Cognac
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp tomato puree
Pinch of paprika
600mls of water or fish stock
Put on a pot of boiling water to blanch your tomatoes in, have a bowl of ice cold water at the ready to dunk them straight into.
The first job will be to de-shell your langoustines, a pain in the arse of a job and if your fishmonger will do it then take them up the offer your fingertips will thank you.
Put the prawns in the fridge we will take about them later.
Add some flavorless oil and give the shells 3 mins in a high sided hot pan to toast them up before adding your other ingredients. You should begin to smell then and they will go a nice orangey colour.
Add a GOOD knob of butter and allow to melt to a beautiful foamy texture add your diced vegetables,garlic, puree and paprika, season. Allow to cook until softened slightly.
While that is happening turn to your tomatoes and cut a shallow cross on the bottom of them, you are looking to cut the skin more that the tomato itself and pop into a fast rolling boiling pot of water.
Wait 20 seconds or so depending on how ripe your tomatoes are, remove and pop into ice water.
When you take the out they should have easy peel option on the bottom where you but your cross. Peel and cut in to wedges.
Pour in your alcohol and flambé if desired, but if a flambé isn't your style then cook for 2 mins to allow the alcohol to burn off.
Cover with liquid of your choice, flambé if desired, not essential.Give it a good bash with a rolling pin or potato masher to get all the flavour out of the prawn shells,season, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 1 hour.
Ladle into a blender, blitz for 30 seconds. Sieve out twice, once through a colander and the second time through a fine mesh sieve with a sheet of muslin over it. (Perhaps do this process twice if you are missing the muslin)
Discard the leftover solids.
Pour back into the pot and bring back to the boil, reduce until it coats the back of a spoon, (by about a 1/3) whisk in 30ml of double cream, cook for a future 3 mins and season to taste. Top with Prawns fried IN BUTTER a dash of cream, chopped chervil or parsley, serve with fresh crusty bread or toasty golden crostini and go mad.
Alternatively, you can freeze the stock before reducing it and use it in the future for a fish stew or risotto.