Friday, October 01, 2010

Easy and delicious... especially when you get someone else to cook :)

Not every writer is as lucky as I am when it comes to husbands. Mine is not only my biggest cheer squad, always generous with his time, and ready to read my WIP and urge me on, or discuss potential problems, but he also cooks yummy meals when I want-slash-need to keep writing.

One favourite is Salt and Pepper Prawns (Shrimp) and he's sharing the recipe here.  I can assure you this is v yum. Over to Elliot:-

A good friend, who is well travelled and a great host, does salt and pepper prawns (shrimp) as his signature dish. It doesn’t involve much preparation, is quick to cook and is a great starter -- and he kindly shared his recipe with me.
The focus is on the ingredients and the process, rather that the measurements.
Prawns (you’ll know them as shrimp if you’re North American) are best fresh, but can also be thawed from a frozen pack.
In Australia the best prawns are wild harvest and sold as “banana prawns”. The biggest and tastiest come from inshore waters of the Great Barrier Reef, particularly Cleveland Bay, where we live.
Much of the local catch is exported to Asia and Germany and the friend who provided this recipe is involved in that trade.
 1 Peel the prawns and cut lightly down the back. This is done mainly to allow the cooked prawn to curl and split open, but it also gives you the opportunity to remove the dark vein which some people don’t like. The vein will probably have been removed in frozen pack prawns.
Do not butterfly the prawn (don’t splay the prawn out and flatten it like a cutlet)
2. Dry the prawns and dust lightly with rice meal. Note that rice meal is slightly coarser than rice flour which is too fine and stops the salt and pepper from infusing into the prawn meat.
3 Further dust the prawns in a mixture of four parts fine salt to one part Scheuan pepper. Scheuan pepper is not the same as the normal black pepper and usually needs a good pounding in a mortar and pestle before being put through a fine sieve. It is powerful stuff, not particularly hot, but it can numb your lips if taken raw.
4 Bring peanut oil to a high heat in a wok or large frying pan and sprinkle in some of the salt and pepper mix. Don’t let the oil and mix smoke but ensure that the salt dilutes and the pepper changes from dark reddish brown to grey. Just how much salt and pepper you use will depend on your tastes and a bit of experimenting. The prawns get their unique flavour from the coating and infusion of the cooking oil, but you don’t want them so salty that they lose the pepper flavour.
5 Cook the dusted prawns quickly until they curl and the coating starts to colour. This might only take one minute, or two minutes maximum. Leave them too long and the salt and the heat will make  your tender prawns tough and rubbery. Don’t put so many prawns into the oil that it cools down and stews. Do it in batches and keep the whole thing hot and sizzily.
6 Remove quickly in bulk to avoid some of the prawns being overcooked and let stand to drain on paper towels. Lightly sprinkle with juice from a fresh lemon.
7 Stand for a few minutes to allow the flavours to infuse but serve while still warm, not cold.
A great dish with fresh salads or rice.

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