Lobster or Shellfish Essence


Essences are good in cream sauces or for mixing with lemon juice and oils for salad dressing. They are also useful when reduced and mixed with butter to make a shellfish butter.

If using prawn shells, grind the shells in a food processor just enough to break them up. If using lobster shells, just put them in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook or paddle and turn the mixer on to the lowest speed possible for 15 minutes. Wrap some aluminum foil around the top of the bowl and the mixer arm to keep the lobster shells from jumping out of the bowl as they are crushed. Add 1 cup of the stock, turn the speed up one notch, and mix for another 10 minutes.

Add the remaining fish stock and mix on low speed until the shells are completely broken up in small pieces and the stock in the bowl is red colored, about another 15 minutes. (The long mixing time is necessary to break up the shells gradually and extract the full flavor and color.)

Scrape all the shells and any essence sticking to the sides of the bowl into a saucepan. Strain completely, pressing down on the shells, reserving the liquid and discarding the shells. Refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to a month.