Langoustines

To serve 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg langoustines

For the langoustine oil

  • Reserved roasted langoustine heads
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 white peppercorns
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1 sliced shallot
  • 100 g mirepoix ─ mixed chopped carrot, celery and fennel
  • 500 ml vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Remove the head of the langoustine from the body and tail by simply twisting.
  2. Set the tails to one side for blanching later.
  3. Place the langoustine heads into a baking tray.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in a hot oven (190 degrees Celsius/ 375 degrees Fahrenheit/ Gas Mark 5) for 15 minutes.

For the langoustine tails

  1. Blanch the langoustine tails in a pan of boiling salted water for 5 seconds.
  2. Drain the pan, refresh the langoustines in iced water then drain again.
  3. Peel the langoustines and skewer each one on a cocktail stick to maintain their shape while cooking.
  4. Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a pan.
  5. Add the langoustines on their skewers, with a little salt.
  6. Cook on one side until golden brown then turn and repeat for the other side.
  7. Add a small knob of butter and, when melted, use to baste the langoustines 2 ─ 3 times.
  8. When the langoustines are golden brown, add a final squeeze of lemon juice then remove from the heat and allow to drain before serving.

For the langoustine oil

  1. Heat a little oil in a pan.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the langoustine heads.
  3. Crush the bones with the end of a rolling pin to release the flavour.
  4. Cook the crushed bones for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the tomato puree, stirring to coat the langoustines, and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the aromatic spices (star anise, peppercorns and saffron), the sliced shallot and the mirepoix.
  7. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Keep stirring throughout to ensure the ingredients are coated with tomato and to prevent the puree burning as this will result in a bitter flavour.
  8. Add the half litre of vegetable oil, stir to coat all the ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  9. Simmer over a low heat for one hour.
  10. Remove from the heat and allow to cool and infuse for half an hour.
  11. Strain the pan contents through a chinois, other fine sieve or muslin to obtain a clear, red, langoustine-infused oil.