Yabby bisque recipe
- Cuisine: French
- Makes 500 ml
A bisque is an intensely flavoured soup or sauce made from the roasted shells of crustaceans. It is usually flavoured with tomato, white wine and Cognac or brandy. When made from freshwater crustaceans, it is known as sauce Nantua. You can substitute marrons for the yabbies to make a marron bisque.
Featured as part of our Cooks and their Books series, this recipe comes courtesy of Justin North, owner and manager of renowned Sydney restaurant Bécasse, and Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2009 Chef of the Year.
More Justin North recipes
1 kg (2 lb 2 oz) yabby heads, claws
50 ml (13⁄4 fl oz) non-scented cooking oil
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1⁄2 leek, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly crushed
60 g (2 oz) unsalted butter,
2 tablespoons fresh tomato paste
100 ml (31⁄2 fl oz) white wine
30 ml (1 fl oz) Cognac
3 sprigs thyme
2 stalks basil, roughly crushed
Remove the innards from the yabby heads. Crush the heads, claws and shells with a heavy mallet. Heat a deep roasting tray over a medium-high heat. Add the oil and the crushed shells and heat until they change colour to a vibrant orange-pink.
Add the diced vegetables to the tray and mix in well. Scatter on the butter and heat to a very light brown foam. Continue to cook until the shells are deep red. Add the tomato paste and cook for another few minutes. Remove around one-third of the shells from the pan and set aside.
Add the white wine to the pan and deglaze. Add the Cognac and thyme then add enough water to just cover the shells. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes without skimming. Pour through a colander and then a chinois or fine sieve.
Return the liquid to a clean saucepan and simmer rapidly until reduced to the consistency of a thin sauce. Add the reserved shells to the pan and cook for a few minutes to refresh the flavour. Remove the pan from the heat and add the basil. Leave to infuse for 2 minutes then pass through a chinois or fine sieve. The bisque will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days or up to a month in the freezer.
Recipe from Becasse: Inspirations and Flavours by Justin North with photographs by Steven Brown. Published by Hardie Grant Books.
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