Sunday, 14 September 2014

Weekend cookery

Today's lunch turned out so perfect I thought I'd share it with my readers. I'm a great fan of fresh prawns - true, they need peeling which is a bit of a faff, but they taste so much better compared to the ready-peeled sort. If you've not done it before, each one takes about 20-30 seconds to shell - remove the head (easy), then pull the tail off carefully so as not to leave any meat inside it; then, taking the legs and carapace off one side proceed round to the other in one swift, decisive action; the entire prawn minus shell then pops free. Finally, use your thumbnail to check if there's any carapace remaining around the prawn's spine. There! Then repeat around 25 times, which will produce a goodly portion for one person, and 25 times per person thereafter. Half a kilo is about 50 medium prawns (give or take a few). Auchan has a delivery of fresh seafood several times a week; sometimes the hypermarket is out of them.

Anyway, now you have your peeled prawns, we can begin...

First clarify a knob of butter on a medium to large-sized non-stick frying pan. Now, chop finely some garlic - one large or two small cloves per person - and cut a red hot chilli pepper (about half per person should do, though this may be fiery for some palates) into fine strips. Put garlic and chilli into the clarified butter, then add a generous splosh of dry white wine (any will do). Now, put in your prawns; keep stirring.

Then, transfer your talents to the tomatoes. Small cherry tomatoes (the best are from PGO, an organic tomato grower from Białystok, on the vine preferably) cut into quarters. About six tomatoes per person should yield 24 quarters, around a quarter of a cherry tomato per prawn.

Now, the couscous. Not only is it easier to prepare than rice, its texture goes together better with prawns, and the way it adheres to them gives a better visual impact.

To make couscous simply put about a quarter of a cupful per person into a... er... cup, and cover with freshly boiled water, and give a dash more for good measure. And just let it stand for five minutes! (Should there be no water visible on the surface after two minutes, add a dash more boiling water.)

Once the prawns have cooked through, put in the couscous and mix in. That's nearly it - warm it all through and just garnish at the last minute with freshly cut coriander (I love the stuff!) and serve into a pre-heated bowl.

Drink-wise, a super Portuguese dry white has just appeared in the local Biedronka (owned by Portuguese Jeronimo Martins Distribution), called Barbeitos. At last, five months after opening its store in Jeziorki, Biedronka offers a decent Portuguese wine. To go with this shellfish meal - excellent.

Click on the photo below, of the finished meal; bring your face close to your screen and smell it...

Note the way the couscous clings to the prawns - I used to make this meal with rice, but couscous is a far superior accompaniment, even compared to the fineft Basmati rice. Other than peeling the prawns, very quick to prepare and phenomenally tasty.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you should start a regular cooking blog - your serving suggestion photograph and description is mouth-watering!

Frater Gormand Trencherman III