Spicy Langoustine Broth (Bouillon de Langoustine Epice)

8 servings
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs. langoustine shells, rinsed but left whole (or substitute shrimp or lobster shells)
  • 2 oranges, preferably organic, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 2 whole pieces star anise
  • One 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes in their juice (do not drain)
  • Several fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 plump, moist head garlic, halved crosswise but not peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chile pepper, or piment d'Espelette
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • In a heavy-duty roasting pan or in a large, deep skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add the shells and sear until they turn bright pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the orange quarters, fennel seeds, star anise, 4 quarts cold water, the tomatoes, bay leaves, garlic, chile peppers, sea salt, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and boil vigorously for 30 minutes. To extract the maximum flavor from the shells, use a wooden mallet to crush and break them up while the soup is cooking.

  • Line a large colander with a double layer of dampened cheesecloth, and place the colander over a large bowl. Ladle the broth into the colander, discarding the solids.

  • Taste for seasoning. Serve warm in small cups as an appetizer, or in warmed shallow soup bowls as a first course.

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