Prawn is a common name for large swimming crustaceans, particularly in Britain and Commonwealth nations, and are also called shrimp. Significant commercial species valued for food tend to be large, and thus tend to be called prawns.
The term prawn also loosely describes any large shrimp, especially those that come 15 (or fewer) to the pound (such as king prawns, tiger prawns or jumbo shrimp). For this recipe, tiger prawns are used as these are very common at supermarket fish counters. Make sure you buy them with the shells on as these will be needed for the shrimp butter.
If you are not keen on shelling and cleaning the prawns yourself, ask your fishmonger or supermarket to do this for you, but remember to ask them to give you the shells to take home.
This recipe will serve four as a starter course.
20 fresh large Tiger Prawns, shells removed and reserved for the shrimp butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ teaspoon of garlic, grated
½ teaspoon of dried red chilli flakes
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika for presentation garnish
1½ teaspoons of lime juice, fresh squeezed
60ml of extra dry Vermouth
60g of Shrimp Butter (recipe below)
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to season
Baby Spinach very, very finely chopped for presentation garnish
Baby Spinach wilted in a little butter and a tablespoon of water to serve (optional)
For the Shrimp Butter;
Roast the prawn shells in a fan oven at 240C (giving a final heat of 260C) for 2 minutes, or until pink.
Add the shells to a blender with an equal amount of very hot melted butter and blend for a few minutes until the shells are completely broken down.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer and chill in an ice bath, whisking the butter to bring it back together.
Heat a stainless steel frying pan or large saucepan with the olive oil on a high heat.
Just before smoking point, add the cleaned prawns and sear, adding a good pinch of salt and a good grinding of black pepper.
When half cooked, pour off the excess oil and add the grated garlic.
Remove the pan from the heat and de-glaze with the extra dry vermouth and lime juice.
Add the chilies, return pan back to the heat, and reduce the liquid by half.
Add the Shrimp Butter and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Remove the prawns and arrange five on each serving plate.
Finish with the sauce coating the tops of the prawns, and add a pinch of the smoked paprika and a pinch of the very finely chopped baby spinach leaves to garnish.
Serve with a few wilted baby spinach leaves if you want to, or perhaps some shredded cooked Savoy cabbage leaves.