As a child, Rory Greenwood-McNeair used to get hash browns as a treat following swimming lessons. Nowadays, that crunchy potato treat fits nicely with the seasonal comfort food that he oversees as head chef at Goldy’s Tavern in Collingwood.
But the humble hash brown has surprising versatility. In Greenwood-McNeair’s gourmet take on the classic combination of grilled cheese and soup, the soup is a rich lobster bisque and the grilled cheese is swapped out for hash browns topped with grilled mozzarella and truffle pecorino, plus some lobster tail for added eye appeal.
“I’d been wanting to do a Nordic fish soup with a cheesy bread pull-apart for a while, just for myself for dinner,” he says. “I just put the hash browns and bisque together in a similar way. And obviously I had to throw a lobster tail in there.”
Bake the Birds Eye Deli Hash Browns before layering them with the cheeses, pulling them apart and dipping them into the bisque. The rustic, lightly salted hash browns provide a crispy contrast with the smoothness of the bisque. Likewise, the last-minute addition of Pedro Ximenez sherry (besides the dry white wine added earlier) lends a tandem richness and sweetness that works well with the seafood flavours and balances the bisque nicely.
The dish does require a whole lobster (we’re talking about making hash browns fancy, after all) which you can source from your local fishmonger along with the prawn heads required. Greenwood-McNeair’s only warning on the seafood front is not to blend the shells too finely, because then the strainer won’t catch them.
“We’ll probably put something like this on our menu in winter,” he says. “A nice home-cooked meal is our style: something nostalgic.”
Lobster bisque with truffled pecorino hash brown pull-aparts
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2.5 hours
2 shallots, quartered
½ small fennel bulb, cut into large cubes
4 cloves of garlic, halved
5 sprigs of thyme
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp whole black peppercorns
2 tbsp olive oil
375ml dry white wine
500g prawn heads
1 whole lobster
3 tomatoes, chopped
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 packet Birds Eye Deli Hash Browns With Sea Salt
60g mozzarella, grated
60g truffle pecorino, grated
75ml Pedro Ximenez sherry
Place shallots, fennel and garlic with the thyme, fennel seeds and black peppercorns into a large dry pot. Char for a few minutes on medium heat. Add the olive oil and stir to coat all the ingredients.
Turn the temperature to high and, once sizzling, add the wine and reduce by half.
Once reduced, add the prawn heads and water. Bring it to the boil.
Using your hands, remove the lobster head and legs from the tail. Put all the lobster parts in the broth. After 6 minutes, remove the lobster tail and legs.
Lower the heat, add the tomatoes and smoked paprika. Cook covered for 1 hour. Then cook uncovered for 1 hour.
Using a stick blender, roughly blend the bisque, then strain through a fine sieve. Discard the solids. Put the bisque back in the saucepan on a low heat until hot.
Heat the oven to 180°C. Bake the hash browns based on the packet instructions.
Mix the mozzarella and truffle pecorino together.
On a baking tray, stack the hash browns evenly in pairs. Place the grated cheese mix evenly across all hash browns and place under the grill until cheese is gooey and slightly golden.
Cut the lobster tail into quarters and place in 4 soup bowls. Add the sherry to the bisque and season with salt to taste. Pour into the bowls over the lobster. Serve straight away alongside a hash brown stack.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Birds Eye. See the Birds Eye Deli range of seasoned potato chips.