Saturday, June 19, 2010

prawn oil

Next time you prepare a dish that leaves you with a lot of left over shells do not throw all those wonderful bits out, instead make up this oil and you will regret every time you did throw them out. With this oil in your fridge you will be able to add a beautiful richness to a large range of dishes.

What you'll need
1 kg of any or all of the following: prawn, crab, lobster or bug heads & shells
1 brown onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
carrot (peeled and roughly chopped)
stalk of celery (roughly chopped)
2 bay leaves
A few sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp tom paste
1 litre (1 quart) virgin olive oil

What to do
Crack, break or chop the shells into pieces (approx the size of a thumb nail).

In a large heavy based pot over high heat add a few tbs of olive oil and sauté the carrot, onion and celery until soft.

Add the shells and tomato paste and continue to cook a further 5-8 minutes.

Carefully pour in the remaining oil, add the bay leaves and thyme, make sure that all the ingredients are covered in oil, you may need to add more than a litre depending on the shape and size of your pot.
* Leave on high heat for 5 minutes and then reduce to low and allow to cook for at least 3 hours.

Turn off and allow to cool for at least 2 hours.

Once cooled strain though a colander and allow solids to drain of all the oil.

Discard the solids and strain the liquid through a fine chinois (sieve) at least twice.

Once oil is completely cooled down transfer it to a bottle and it will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of months.

chefs tip
When using the oil in recipes you will need to remove it from the fridge about an hour before you need it so it can become liquid again.

Use it as the oil called for in any seafood pasta dish. Toss it through any al'dente pasta along with a little chopped parsley. Drizzle it on top of any soup. Cook scrambled eggs with salmon in it. Once you understand the flavours in it, let your imagination run wild.

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