Gold Coast King Prawns
We discovered these babies on a trip to the Saturday Fruit & Vegetable Markets at the Brisbane Marketplace (Rocklea). They fetch a healthy $25 a kilo (roughly 20 prawns), and usually sell out a couple of hours before the markets wrap up around midday.
That very Saturday, Bev and I decided that we should do something with these prawns, but didn't know exactly what. Bev, as always, wanted to do something clean such as a grilled application with a tomato-based pasta. I, however, was in the mood for something a little more chi-chi, and conjured up ideas of the usual fancy schmancy. Eventually, and as always, we worked around each other's differences and came up with this dish. I don't particularly like writing recipes as you know, as I seldom adhere to them, but anyhow, here's roughly how I made it.
Tomato and Leek Fondue for pasta:
2 kg roma tomatoes, blanched, peeled and deseeded
1 large leek, green part discarded, and white part roughly cut
4 cloves garlic, chopped
This is a very 'pure' form of a tomato sauce, made with only fresh tomatoes, and without the use of any canned or bottled tomato products. It is somewhat like a traditional Italian Sugo di Pomodoro Freschi, or fresh tomato sauce.
Start by crushing the tomato flesh with your hands, squishing them through your fingers to obtain a coarse, pulpy mixture. Heat up a saucepan with a few good lugs of olive oil to coat the base generously. Then add the leeks and garlic, together with a pinch of salt to speed up the softening of the leeks. Turn down the heat to medium low, taking care not to burn or colour the leeks. Once the leeks are soft and translucent, about 10-15 minutes later, add the tomatoes and cook for a further 15-20 minutes till tomatoes are soft and all the flavours meld nicely together. Season to taste. Toss with cooked pasta and a good dose of extra virgin olive oil.
Champagne and Shallot Butter:
2 medium banana shallots, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup champagne (can substitute with other white wine such as chardonnay)
200 gms butter, softened
Fry shallots and garlic in 2 tbsp butter over medium heat for 2 minutes till slightly softened and translucent. Turn up heat and add champagne. Let boil and reduce till you are left with approximately 2-3 tbsps of liquid. Then allow to cool slightly before folding in 200 gms of softened butter. Season with salt and pepper. Chill in refrigerator, covered with cling film.
Prawns, shelled & deveined & butterflied
1 quantity champagne and shallot butter
Toss prawns with generous amount of olive oil. Heat grill/heavy-bottomed fry pan. Place prawns on hot cooking surface and cook for 2 minutes, turn once and cook another 1 minute. At this point, add a decent knob of champagne and shallot butter to the prawns and let coat, cooking for a further minute till prawns are done. Season with a touch more salt and cracked black pepper if necessary. Serve with pasta.
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