Chargrilled langoustines, bisque, buttermilk and pickled fennel


This beautiful grilled langoustine recipe by Paul Welburn makes a glorious seafood starter, with a heady bisque, seaweed butter and fragrant pickled fennel. Make sure you buy live langoustines as freshness is imperative, although remember to place them in the freezer for one hour prior to cooking. The fennel provides a lovely lift to the dish that cuts through the richness of the bisque.

First published in 2015




Pickled fennel

  • 1 fennel
  • 100g of white wine
  • 100ml of white wine vinegar
  • 50ml of water
  • 50g of sugar
  • thyme
  • 1 tsp salt



Seaweed butter

To plate


Begin by preparing the pickled fennel. Remove and reserve the fennel tops, then thinly slice the bulb using a mandoline. Season with salt and leave to sit for 30 minutes
Meanwhile, make the pickling liquor by combining the white wine, vinegar, sugar, thyme and water together in a pan. Bring to the boil and, once boiling, remove the pan from the heat
  • 100g of white wine
  • 100ml of white wine vinegar
  • 50ml of water
  • 50g of sugar
  • thyme
Wash the salt from the fennel slices and dry them carefully using kitchen towel. Place into a container or jar and pour over the warm pickling liquor. Cover and leave the slices to steep in a cool place for at least 3 hours
Place the langoustines in the freezer for 1 hour to stun – this allows them to be killed humanely. Remove the tails and set to one side, separating the heads, claws and shell for the bisque. Smash the heads, claws and shell into pieces using a rolling pin
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Roast the langoustine pieces in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden. Meanwhile, sweat the onion, celery, fennel and garlic together in a pan, then add the herbs and anise
Add the roasted shell pieces to the pan along with the tomato paste and allow to cook out for 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the brandy and white wine, then add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes
Add the stock to the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave for 15 minutes to infuse, then pass through a fine chinois into a clean pan
  • 2l fish stock
Heat until reduced to a thick sauce-like consistency, seasoning to taste, then remove the pan from the heat and keep warm until ready to serve
To make the seaweed butter blitz the nori in a food processor until it forms a fine powder. Beat the butter until whipped, then fold through the seaweed. Set aside in a cool place until ready to serve
For the buttermilk, mix together the milk and lemon juice until well combined. Season to taste and add more lemon juice if required
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and blanch the langoustines tails for 10 seconds, then immediately plunge them into iced water to refresh
Place a griddle pan over a high heat until hot, then peel the langoustines and season with salt and a little oil and place into the pan. Cook for 1 minute until caramelised on one side, then remove from the pan and brush with seaweed butter
To serve, smear a little of the buttermilk across each plate and spoon over the bisque. Arrange a generous serving of the pickled fennel across the centre of the plate and top with the grilled langoustine tails. Blanch the sea vegetables and place on top with the fennel and reserved fennel tops
First published in 2015

Paul Welburn has years of Michelin-star cooking behind him, holding a star for five years at restaurant W1.

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