A rich lobster bisque and fennel-scented rice adds extra levels of luxury and flavour to this fish course.
For the fish stock, place all of the stock ingredients into a large pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes, then remove from the heat and strain the stock through a fine sieve. Measure out 600ml/20fl oz for the bisque and 600ml/20fl oz for the fennel rice. Set aside.
For the lobster bisque, kill the lobsters humanely by first placing them in the freezer for half an hour, then piercing each one between the eyes with a sharp knife.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and drop in the lobsters. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until they are bright red. Remove the lobsters from the pot and plunge straight into a bowl of iced water to chill. Once cooled completely, remove the tails and claw meat in one piece (the flesh will still be quite raw at this point).
Chop the tail meat into eight small nugget-sized pieces and set aside to cook with the courgette flowers. Cut the lobster shells into large pieces with kitchen scissors.
Heat the olive oil in a pan over a high heat and add the lobster shells. Fry for 4-5 minutes, or until the shells are browned, then add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic and fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the bay leaf, tomato purée, saffron, tarragon and flour and stir well. Pour in the reserved fish stock and gently simmer for 45 minutes before passing the mixture twice through a fine sieve. Set aside.
For the fennel rice, chop the fronds off the fennel and reserve for the garnish. Finely chop the fennel bulb, shallot and garlic. Heat the oil in a small pan and gently fry the fennel, shallot and garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until softened but not coloured.
Add the rice to the pan, stirring to coat in the oil. Stir in the saffron, then pour in the reserved fish stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from the heat. Fluff up the grains with a fork just before serving.
For the baby artichokes and courgettes, slice the courgettes and blanch in a pan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes, drain and refresh in cold water. Drain again and set aside.
Tear away the leaves of the artichoke and discard. Using a sharp knife, trim the artichokes down until you reach the heart. Slice lengthways into 3mm thick slices and brush each side with a little lemon juice to prevent the hearts from going grey. Set aside.
For the tempura courgette flowers, open up the courgette flowers and lay out flat on a work surface. Place a lobster tail nugget on top, roll up and secure with a cocktail stick. Repeat with the remaining flowers and lobster pieces.
Combine the flour, cornflour, salt, freshly ground black pepper and the sparkling water together in a small bowl to form a thick batter.
Half-fill a deep, heavy-based pan with vegetable oil and heat until a cube of bread dropped in sizzles and turns golden-brown in 30 seconds (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended). Dip the courgette flowers in the tempura batter and place into the oil to fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining courgette flowers.
For the wild salmon, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, season the salmon with salt and freshly ground black pepper then place, skin-side down, into the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until the skin is golden-brown and crisp. Turn the fish over, add the butter to the pan and fry for a further 3-4 minutes, basting occasionally with the melted butter, until the fish is cooked through.
To serve, gently heat up the artichoke slices and courgette slices in a pan with the butter and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer the lobster claws in a pan until just cooked, then drain. Spoon some of the lobster bisque into the centre of each serving plate. Place two quenelles of the fennel rice on top of the bisque, then top with a lobster claw. Arrange the fish alongside, followed by the courgettes and artichokes, and the tempura courgette flowers. Garnish with the fennel fronds.
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