Lobsta rolls with smoky pepper bisque recipe

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A simple and flavoursome recipe using heart of palm, recreating some of the flavours of this New England favourite. You could also substitute some of the vegan fish alternatives (including faux lobster) available in the Chinese supermarket, although I find they can lack the tenderness of real seafood, so heart of palm works exceptionally well as an alternative here. Artichoke hearts also make a great seasonal alternative and are easy to buy in jars. Of course the bisque isn’t really a bisque, with its rich seafood umami from roasted and simmered shells.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 14-oz (1 x 410-g) can heart of palm, drained and rinsed, or substitute 1 jar of artichoke hearts, drained
  • generous ⅓ cup (80 g) vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2½ oz (65 g) chopped celery, including leaves and tender inner sticks/stalks
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 2 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed seaweed or use nori seaweed, very finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon sriracha or other chilli/chili sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
For the Bisque
  • 3 large red (bell) peppers, halved, deseeded and core removed
  • ¼ fennel head
  • 1 onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1¾ cups (400 ml) good quality vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons vegan crème fraîche or soured/sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato puree/paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
To Serve
  • 4 vegan hotdog rolls
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter or vegan margarine, gently melted
  • ¼ iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
  • 1–2 tablespoons vegan soured/sour cream, to serve (optional)
How to Make It
  1. Roughly chop the palm stems. You want a mixture of the flaky middle parts and larger chunks of the outer stems. In a separate bowl, combine the mayo, lemon juice, celery, parsley, celery seeds, spring onions/scallions, seaweed, sriracha, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200˚C (400˚F) Gas 6. To make the bisque, put the (bell) peppers, fennel, onion and carrot on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 10–15 minutes and then add the garlic cloves. Roast for another 10–15 minutes, until the veggies are all well caramelized, then remove the baking sheet and set aside to cool. Remove the skin from the onion and garlic, and discard.
  3. Add the roasted vegetables to a medium-sized pan along with the stock, tomato purée/paste, coriander and bay leaves. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10–15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Using a stick blender or food processor, blitz the mixture to make a smooth soup. Stir in the crème fraîche or soured/sour cream and salt and mix well.
  4. Slice the hotdog rolls almost in half along the top, and brush the insides generously with the coconut butter or margarine. Lightly toast the rolls by placing on a hot dry frying pan/skillet or under a hot grill/broiler if you like. Half-fill each roll with lettuce and then add 2–3 tablespoons of the lobsta mixture.
  5. To serve, divide the soup between four small cups or bowls (drizzle with a little vegan soured/sour cream) and serve alongside the lobsta rolls.

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