DAVID WOODS: Enjoy a delightful fish soup that’s simple to prepare

Seafood bisque
Seafood bisque
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A steaming bowl of fragrant fish soup is perfect for this time of year. And David Woods, executive head chef of the Sofitel Hotel, based at Gatwick’s north terminal has just the recipe.

I love September because I get to indulge in my passion for fresh fish.

We always have plenty of fish dishes on the menu here at La Brasserie, but this month we are hosting a South Coast Seafood festival, so it will be a fish frenzy.

There is a huge variety of fish available this time of year from mackerel and lemon sole, Pollock, sea bass and John Dory to name a few.

It’s the ultimate fast food as no matter how you cook it – roasted, grilled, deep fried or poached – it is ready in a matter of minutes.

If you have holidayed in France this summer, you may have enjoyed another favourite of mine, the delicious fish stew called bouillabaisse.

It needs a lot of ingredients to make from scratch, but if you want a delicious fish soup that is easier to prepare, then try my seafood bisque.

It can be dressed up for a dinner party with slices of lobster, and a sprinkling of crab meat and clams, or it can be casual for lunch with a swirl of cream and a handful of shelled prawns.

For a dash of French chic, buy a pot of garlicky mayonnaise called Aioli, spread onto croutons and float on the top of the soup. Enjoy.

l La Brasserie restaurant is hosting its annual South Coast Seafood Festival from September 15-29.

To book call 01293 567070.

Seafood Bisque

Serves 4

Ingredients:

30g butter

1 onion, diced

1 carrots, peeled and sliced

½ small leek, white part only, sliced

1 stick of celery, sliced

1 tab of melted butter

500g cooked whole prawns in their shells

1 dessertspoon tomato puree

1 clove of garlic

1 litre of fish stock – supermarkets stock fresh fish stock or use a good quality stock cube

Splash of brandy – optional

150mll double cream

Few sprigs of dill

Method

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and gently fry the vegetables until soft.

Meanwhile, peel the prawns and place the shells (including heads) on a baking tray. Coat with the melted butter and dot with tomato paste.

Roast in an oven, 170oC for 15 minutes.

Add the shells to the softened vegetables and give them a bash with a wooden spoon. If you are using brandy, add this now and cook for a minute to burn off the alcohol.

Add the garlic and another tablespoon of tomato puree. Pour over the hot fish stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for half an hour.

Strain through a fine sieve and put the liquid back into the saucepan. Stir in the cream and the prawns. Thicken with a little cornflour if required.

Serve with a swirl of cream and a sprig of dill.

Chef’s tip

For extra flavour – and if you are feeling brave – light the brandy when you add it to the vegetables.

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