50 gmbutter1onion, finely chopped2 stalks celery, finely chopped1carrot, finely chopped2fresh bay leaves2 sprigs thyme2 tbsptomato paste100 mldry white wine40 mlcognac or brandy1.2 kgsmall school prawns, unpeeled2 litresfish stock200 gmsourdough breadcrumbs50 mlolive oil, for frying
Heat butter in a large saucepan, add onion and sauté over medium heat for 6 minutes or until soft, add celery, carrot and herbs and cook for 8 minutes or until soft. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, then add wine and cognac and simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced by half.
Add 1kg of prawns and cook for 5 minutes, then add fish stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then pulse mixture, in batches, in a food processor until smooth and pass through a sieve, discarding solids.
Return bisque to a clean saucepan, add breadcrumbs and simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes or until thick, then press through a fine sieve, discarding solids. Return bisque to pan, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper and keep warm.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add remaining prawns and sauté over high heat for 2 minutes or until crisp. Ladle bisque into bowls, top with fried prawns and serve.