1/2 small loaf of white bread, unsliced and
1 day old
oil for deep frying
20 ml/4 tsp Gruyere cheese, grated
For the rich parwn sauce
25 g/1 oz butter
15 ml/1 tbls flour
150 ml/5 fl oz BASIC FISH STOCK
60 ml/4 tbls double cream
75 g/3 oz frozen prawns, defrosted and coarsely copped
salt and freshly ground black pepper cayenne pepper
5-10 ml/1-2 tsp brandy
1. To make the rich prawn sauce: in a heavy-based pan melt 15 g/1/2 oz butter, stir in the flour and cook over a low heat for 2 minutes, stirring continuously until smooth, to make a roux.
2. Gradually add the fish stock to the roux stirring continuously until the sauce is rich and creamy. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, uncovered. Then add the cream and continue cooking for about 25 minutes, stirring from time to time until the sauce is fairly thick.
3. MeanWhile, prepare the croutes. Remove the crust from one end of the loaf, then cut 4 slices, each 20mm/3/4 in thick, from the loaf. With a7.5 cm/3 in pastry cutter, cut into each round to within 6 mm/1/4 in of the bottom. Carefully take out the centre round that this makes to form a neat case and a separate lid.
4. Pour enough oil into a deep-fat frier to come one-third of the way up the sides. Heat the oil, over a low heat, to 190C/375F. (At this temperature a small cube of bread will brown in 50 seconds.) and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper.
5. To finish the sauce, in a pan sauté the chopped prawns in the remaining butter until heated through. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Add the brandy and warm slightly, turn off the heat and set the brandy alight,allow the flames to subside and then add the prawns to the sauce.
6. Heat the grill to high. Fill each drained croute with about a quarter of the rich prawn sauce and top each with a teaspoon of grated Gruyere cheese. Grill them about 7.5 cm/3 in from the heat for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly glazed.
7. Replace the lids and serve immediately.
Time 50 minutes