From a very young age, one of Neven's favourite pastimes was to shadow his mother in the kitchen, watching her cook; his pastime soon became ...
1 tblsp rapeseed oil
100g (4oz) Dublin Bay prawn shells
1 small carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 fresh vine tomato
¼ fennel bulb, chopped
1 garlic clove
1½ tbsp tomato purée
150ml (¼ pint) dry white wine
2 tblsp Cognac
300ml (½ pint) fish stock (see link below)
2 star anise
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 fresh tarragon sprig
1 fresh basil sprig
100ml (3½fl oz) cream
50ml (2fl oz) milk
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp soya lecithin
Heat a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and sauté the prawn shells for 2-3 minutes, until just beginning to colour. Add the carrot, onion, celery, tomato, fennel and garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes.
Stir the tomato purée into the vegetable and prawn shell mixture. Deglaze with the wine and Cognac, then reduce down until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.
Pour in the fish stock, then add the star anise and herbs. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 25 minutes, until well reduced. Finally, stir in the cream and milk and reduce for another 10 minutes. Pass the sauce through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Season to taste and keep warm.
Add the soya lecithin to the sauce. Place the hand blender in the sauce just before serving and blitz to lighten by bringing the head of the blender from the very bottom of the pan to the top of the liquid. Use immediately.
Cook Ahead: This can be made in advance up to the stage where it is passed through a sieve. Store in the fridge covered in clingfilm for up to 2 days, then reheat in a pan and add the soya lecithin at the last minute just before frothing.