1 large onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
1 head of garlic, sliced in half widthways
8 white peppercorns, crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
40g/1¾oz mixed herbs, such as chervil, tarragon, parsley, chives and basil
300ml/½ pint dry white wine
2 small carrots, chopped
½ garlic clove, very finely chopped
2 baby leeks, very finely sliced
1 small courgette, cut into cubes
75g/3oz mangetout, chopped
3 tbsp freshly shelled peas
2 tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley
3 spring onions, sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ lemon, grated zest only
To make the broth, put all the chopped vegetables into a large saucepan or stockpot and cover with water (about 1 litre/1¾ pints). Add the garlic, peppercorns, coriander seeds, star anise and bay leaf. Bring to the boil and simmer for about eight minutes. Add the fresh herbs and simmer for a further three minutes. Add the white wine, stir and remove from the heat. Cover and leave to infuse for 48 hours in a cool place.
For the tomato water, put the vinegar and sugar in a small non-reactive saucepan and mix well. Simmer over a medium heat for 1½-2 minutes to produce a syrup. Remove from the heat and stir in 180ml/6fl oz water. Add the tomatoes, along with any tomato juice, and the remaining ingredients. Purée the mixture, in batches, in a blender, then pour into a colander lined with a sterilised linen cloth or muslin set over a bowl. Allow to drain in the fridge overnight. The next day, discard the solid material in the colander, and set the liquid aside.
Strain the vegetable broth through a fine sieve and discard the vegetables and herbs. Set the broth aside. (You don't need all the broth for this recipe; that left over can be frozen and used as a stock for sauces, soups and so on.)
For the langoustines, put a large pan of water on to boil over a high heat. Pull the heads off the langoustines. If the gut has remained in the body, find the middle segment of the tail and fold it backwards. Break it and pull away from the body. The gut should come away with it.
When the water is boiling, use a slotted spoon to lower in the langoustines, then blanch for 30 seconds. (Do this in two batches.) Lift them out and plunge straight into a bowl of iced water to stop them cooking further. Leave for a few seconds, then remove and drain. Crush each langoustine gently in your hand to break the shell. It should then peel off easily.
Strip the rosemary leaves from the stalks, retaining about 2cm/1in at the top (growing) end. Skewer three langoustines onto each stick of rosemary and set aside.
For the vegetable stew, place a large pan over a medium heat and add 30g/1¼oz of the butter and 300ml/½ pint of the reserved vegetable broth. Whisk together until the mixture thickens and forms an emulsion. Add the carrots and garlic and cook for 1½ minutes. Add the baby leeks. You may need to add a little boiling water if the sauce has reduced right down - it should be a soupy butter emulsion. Stir the leeks for a few seconds; then stir in the courgette. Add the mangetout and peas. Cook for about 30 seconds. Add the parsley, spring onions, cherry tomatoes and lemon zest. Stir and then take off the heat.
Melt the remaining 20g/¾oz of butter in a large frying pan. Add 75ml/2½fl oz of the reserved tomato water and whisk to emulsify. (The remaining tomato water can be frozen, or used as the base for a savoury jelly.) Remove from the heat. Add the skewers of langoustine to the tomato emulsion and allow to sit for a few minutes to take on the flavour, turning once.
To serve, arrange the vegetables in four shallow bowls and spoon over some of their saucy liquid. Remove the langoustine skewers from their emulsion, place a skewer in the centre of each bowl and sprinkle with the chervil, chives and basil.
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