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Creamy Lemon Grass and Basil Soup with Seafood

24 large raw prawns
16 green-lipped mussels (thawed if frozen)
40 g (1 1/3 ounce) butter
75 g (3 ounces) shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
300 ml (1/2 pint) dry white wine
3 lemon grass stalks, bruised
1 kaffir lime leaf
15 to 30 ml (1 to 2 tablespoons) lemon juice, to taste
300 ml (1/2 pint) single cream
30 ml (2 tablespoons) shredded basil leaves
2 rashers sweet-cured back bacon, derinded and chopped
2 egg yolks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

50 g (2 ounces) butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 to 6 slices French bread
30 ml (2 tablespoons) finely chopped basil

Shell and de-vein the prawns, reserving the shells.

To make the stock, melt 25 g (1 ounce) of the butter in a saucepan,
add the prawn shells and fry until pink. Add half of the chopped
shallot with the garlic and cook until translucent. Add 300 ml
(1/2 pint) water, the wine, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaf.
Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain the stock and adjust the flavour with lemon juice.

Meanwhile prepare the garlic croutes. Melt the butter in a pan,
add the garlic and cook until softened. Add the bread slices and
fry until golden on both sides; drain on kitchen paper. Toss in
the chopped basil and keep warm.

Bring the stock to the boil in a large pan. Add the prawns and
cook until just pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted
spoon and set aside. Add the mussels to the stock, heat through,
then remove and set aside. Add the cream and shredded basil and
simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the remaining shallot and the bacon in the rest of
the butter until tender.

To serve, add the onion and bacon to the soup, with the prawns and
mussels. Heat through, then transfer the seafood to warmed soup
plates. Off the heat, work the egg yolks into the soup. Season
with salt and pepper to taste and ladle over the seafood. Serve
immediately, with the garlic croutes.


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