Bouillabaisse with cock crab and poached lobster

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The intense combination of saffron, orange and fennel marry together the delicate and sweet flavours of the gurnard fish in Phil Fanning's exciting bouillabaisse and crab recipe. Cock Crab, which is the male variety of the crustacean, is noted for its superior flavour.

First published in 2015





Confit fennel

Semi-dried tomatoes




Clean the fish by removing the eyes, guts and gills from and then chop into 3cm pieces. Rinse thoroughly under running water for up to one hour. Drain then pat dry. Put the fish, saffron, thyme, cayenne, garlic, orange peel and olive oil into a metal bowl and mix well. Cover with cling film and leave to marinade for 12 hours
Remove the marinated fish from the refrigerator and begin the bouillabaisse. Place a large pan on a medium heat with a small amount of olive oil and sweat the fennel and onions until soft with no colour
Add the tomato purée and chopped tomato, gently cook until all the moisture has been cooked out, approximately 10-15 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside for later use
Heat a large high-sided, non-stick roasting tray in an oven set to 180°C/gas mark 4 with a little oil. Add the marinated fish and roast until all the moisture has evaporated and the fish is starting to gently colour. Transfer the fish to a saucepan and add the fennel mixture
Add the water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and blitz for up to 5 minutes to make a rough purée. Pass the soup through a fine sieve and be sure to push through as much of the mixture as possible. Add the lemon juice, Pernod and salt to finish
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4. Bake the King Edward potatos until soft. Pass through a drum-sieve, while it is still hot, and combine 50g of potato with the milk, saffron, lemon juice, egg yolk and garlic into a small bowl. Mix well
Slowly whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream, as if you were making a mayonnaises. Season to taste with salt then transfer into a piping bag
  • 38ml of olive oil
  • salt
For the semi-dried tomatoes, use a small knife to remove the core and slice a shallow cross in the opposite end. Blanch the tomatoes for 10 seconds in boiling water and refresh in ice water to remove the skin
Cut into quarters, remove the seeds and spread the tomato petals (flesh) onto a parchment lined tray. Evenly coat the tomatoes with the olive oil, sugar, salt, thyme and ground black pepper
Place into the oven at 100˚C until ½ dehydrated. Store by placing the tomatoes in a suitable container and covering with olive oil
Preheat the oven to 150˚C/gas mark 2. For the confit fennel, combine all the ingredients into a small baking dish and cover with foil, place into the oven for 30-40 minutes
To prepare the crab, bring a large pan of water to the boil then drop in the crab. Bring back to the simmer and cook gently for 12 minutes. Remove from the water and refresh into ice water
When the crab is completely cold, pick all the meat from the crab, season with salt, lemon and olive. Wrap the mixture in cling film and roll into a tight sausage. Refrigerate until ready to use
To prepare the lobster, twist the tails off the lobster and tie the two tails together, head to tail so they keep each other straight. Drop into water at 80˚C for 2 minutes, then refresh into ice water. Remove the tails from their shells, remove the top and bottom to create an even shape
Wrap in cling film and wrap into a tight sausage, poach the lobster in water at 56˚C for 20 minutes. Remove from the water and refrigerate until ready for use
Before serving, reheat the bouillabaisse and season with a little aioli. Whisk the soup to emulsify and create a little foam and pour into a serving jug
Slice the lobster tail and crab into chunks and warm gently under a grill set to a low temperature.
Divide the crab and lobster into bowls and add the diced confit fennel, dried tomato petals, aioli, fennel cress and a pinch of fennel pollen. Serve with the jug of bouillabasse

Phil Fanning remains one of the brightest, most interesting chefs of the British food scene, creating beautiful, intricate plates of food at the magnificent Paris House in Woburn Abbey.

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