Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nose to Tail Spot Prawn Feast

Thanks to our friend Maarten, we were provided with a bag full of spot prawn heads and tails.  The tails were sautéed with butter & garlic and served with a pesto pasta, and the heads were turned into this fabulous soup.

Spot Prawn "Bisque"

approx 1 lb of fresh prawns, head on
olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3-5 small shallots, minced
1-2 baby fennel bulbs, fronds removed & diced fine
3-5 small to medium fresh carrots, diced fine
3-5 small to medium tomatoes, chopped fine

  1. Separate the heads from the tails; keep the tails for another dish, or add them at the very end.
  2. Roughly chop the heads (which includes legs and antennae), toss in a little olive oil and place in a rimmed baking pan.
  3. Bake at 300F for about 20 minutes, or until caramelized and roasted smelling
  4. While the prawn heads are baking, sauté the garlic, shallots, fennel & carrots.  Once the vegetables are softened and browned slightly, add the chopped tomatoes and simmer.
  5. Scrape the baked prawns into another saucepan, add boiled water, and use a little of the boiled water to dissolve the prawn bits stuck to the baking tray and scrape all the goodness off into the prawn saucepan.
  6. Bring the prawns in the water to boil, and then reduce to a simmer.  After it's cooked for at least an hour, strain the liquid into the vegetables, and run the prawn heads through a food mill to get the last of the juices out.  Alternatively, you could finely food process the heads, then run through a sieve or a sieve and cheesecloth.
  7. Add the prawn juices to the soup, and reduce to a low simmer, and cook for a number of hours (one at least).
  8. When you're ready to serve, bring back to a boil, and if you like, add the prawn tails to cook for less than 1 minute.  Alternatively, use the tails in another dish.
  9. Serve the soup topped with grated romano or parmesan cheese or just as is.

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