Colin Pritchard, Wright Brothers
Many ingredients have a natural season when they’re best to eat. For prawns it's summer. For me it conjures up images of al fresco dining with a crisp glass of white wine. At Wright Brothers we like to buy white leg vannamei prawns from Lincolnshire as they have great flavour and are sustainably farmed in this country. They are pretty unique as it's rare to find prawns in the UK that have never been frozen, with no glaze added. If you’re unable to get your hands on these, go to any reputable fishmongers and take their advice.
Prawns With Courgette Salad, Lime & Chilli Dressing (Serves 4)
- 400g raw, shell-on prawns
- 2 courgettes
- Pinch of sea salt
- 3 limes
- 2 red chillies
- 50ml rapeseed oil
- Half a bunch of parsley
First make the dressing. Zest and juice the limes, de-seed and finely chop the chilli and mix in a bowl with the rapeseed oil (leaving a little oil spare). Limes vary a lot in juiciness so mix it up and taste it. It should taste sharp, not oily. Pick the parsley leaves and chop finely. Add them to the dressing just before serving to avoid them going brown.
Next, make the courgette salad. Top and tail the courgettes and thinly slice lengthways to make ribbons (I use a mandolin to do this, but you could use a household vegetable peeler). Salt the ribbons lightly and leave in a colander for 5 to 10 minutes to drain off any excess liquid that comes out.
To cook the prawns, add a little rapeseed oil to the frying pan and heat over a medium high heat. Season the prawns with salt and pepper and toss with a drop of rapeseed oil. Add the prawns to the pan, cover with a lid and cook for 1 minute. Take the lid off, turn the prawns over and finish cooking. They are done once they have turned opaque all the way through.
To serve, mix the courgettes with some of the dressing and put a little on each plate. Arrange the prawns around it and dress with the remainder of the dressing. Serve with wedges of lime and don’t forget finger bowls!
Rick Toogood, Prawn On The Lawn
The smell of prawns cooking on the plancha in a local restaurant on holiday is hard to beat. Back at home, they’re simple to cook on the BBQ and are a nice treat for the warmer months when you get home from work, accompanied by a lovely chilled glass of wine. Always cook prawns for slightly less time than you think – there is nothing wrong with them being slightly raw in the middle if they are fresh. And don’t be scared of sucking the heads, as that’s the tastiest bit.
Szechuan Prawns (Serves 4)
For the Szechuan salt:
- 1 tbsp Szechuan pepper
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns
- 4 tbsp Chinese five spice
- 9 tbsp table salt
- For the prawns:
- Olive oil, for frying
- 12 raw tiger prawns
- 2 limes, halved
To make the Szechuan salt, heat a frying pan over a medium heat and toast the Szechuan pepper and black peppercorns for about 1 minute, to release their aroma. Transfer to a spice grinder and blitz thoroughly. Alternatively, crush as finely as possible in a pestle and mortar. Finally, combine with the Chinese five spice in a non-reactive (glass, ceramic or stainless steel) bowl and set aside.
Add the table salt to the frying pan, increase the heat to high, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the salt turns slightly grey. Tip the hot salt into the bowl with the rest of the spices and mix to fuse the flavours together. Set aside and allow to cool. Kept in an airtight container, this salt will keep for about six months.
Bring the frying pan back up to a medium heat and drizzle in a little olive oil. Place the prawns in the pan, drizzle a little more oil over them and generously sprinkle about 2-3 tbsp of the flavoured salt over the prawns. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the prawns have changed from their natural grey colour to pink on the underside, then flip them over, sprinkle with a little more Szechuan salt and cook for a further 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with limes.
Robin Freeman, Ekte Nordic Kitchen
Fresh flavour, light texture, juicy flesh – prawns are great with a cold beer or some crisp white wine, lemon, mayo and some bread: perfect summer combinations. Make sure your prawns are of good quality and keep the cooking process simple. I like to source mine from my local fishmongers F.C. Soper in Nunhead. If you can get out of bed early enough, head to Billingsgate fish market.
Prawn & Egg Smørrebrød With Lemon Mayo & Dill (Serves 1)
- 1 slice of Scandi-style sourdough rye bread
- 1 egg
- Salted butter, for spreading
- 60g brown shrimp. A good alternative is Greenland prawns but make sure you buy shell-on and peel yourself as the flavour will be much better and you can keep the shells for making prawn stock for soups and sauces.
- 30g lemon mayo
- A few sprigs of dill
- Black pepper
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
Put the egg into boiling water and boil for 8 minutes. Cool fast in cold water.
Put the sliced egg on the buttered rye so it covers the bread. Put a small amount of mayo on each yolk and arrange the prawns on top.
Grate a bit of zest on a microplane over the prawns and squeeze a small teaspoon of juice over everything.
Season with black pepper and sea salt. Garnish with plenty of dill.
Serve with a beer and a shot of ice-cold akvavit or a dry with wine.
Raz Helalat, The Coal Shed
Succulent grilled prawns bring back happy memories of summer holidays on the coast, sitting outside and eating fresh seafood and shellfish. Don’t throw away the shells, they are really flavourful and full of nutrients, especially the heads, so use them to make a sauce or stock for soups or risottos. I make my very own secret sauce made up of different spices and juicy ripe tomatoes.
Fire Roasted Prawns (Serves 4)
12 prawns peeled and de-veined
30ml oil, for pan frying
10g dried cherry tomatoes – halved
For the ‘secret sauce’:
- 6 shallots – halved
- 70g garlic, sliced
- 1 dsp crushed chillies
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 dsp smoked paprika
- 1 dsp rose harissa
- 6 fresh ripe tomatoes cut into eighths
- 20ml cooking oil
- 10g kosher salt
For the potato salad:
- 400g Jersey Royals, cooked and sliced into 1cm thick rounds
- 50g shallots finely diced
- 50g dill gherkins finely sliced into rounds
- 20g capers
- 10g parsley leaves – ripped
- 40ml sherry vinegar
- 100ml olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
1. To make the secret sauce, slice up the inners of the shallots and the garlic, and sweat without colouring in pan with the oil. Add the spices and cook for a further 4-5 mins. Add the tomatoes and the salt and remove to a cooler part of a stove. Stir occasionally until the tomatoes break down, approximately 8-10 mins. Place into a blender and blend until smooth. Pass through a fine chinoises.
2. Take 50ml of secret sauce and mix into the raw prawns. Leave for 1-2 hours.
3. Next, make the potato salad. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients, apart from the parsley, together. Season to taste. (Add the parsley when you’re ready to serve).
4. When you’re ready to serve, heat the grill on medium, or a pan to until it just starts to smoke. Add the prawns and cook for 90 seconds on both sides. Remove from direct heat and leave above the grill to rest.
5. Scatter the potato salad over a plate and dot around the rest of the secret sauce. Place the prawns over the top and add the cherry tomatoes.
Anthony Demetre, Wild Honey St James
The biggest mistake people make when cooking with prawns is discarding the heads. It’s one of the most flavoursome parts, so I either keep it and eat as much of it as I can, or set it aside and use it to make a bisque. Carabineros (scarlet prawns) are not always easy to get, so plan ahead and befriend your fishmonger.
Carabineros With 'Nduja Mayonnaise
- Salted butter
- Baby gem lettuce
This particular recipe is a modern take on the prawn cocktail my mum used to make. Simply warm the prawns in salted butter in a frying pan. If the weather’s good I’ll cook them on a Big Green Egg BBQ instead.
I like to serve the warmed prawns with a dollop of nduja mayonnaise, made by mixing ‘nduja spreadable sausage with mayo. You can also dilute the mayonnaise with milk or water to create a dressing.
Add baby gem lettuce to the dish to make it more of a prawn cocktail.
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