Saturday, February 9, 2013

Fierce Garlic Prawns with Red Pepper Aioli

Garlic Prawns

True Prawns have a few subtle variances that distinguish them from jumbo shrimp – different gills, more pincers and longer legs. But for our purposes here, i.e. eating good food, those differences are really moot because we’re going for big.

In my mind, any culinary additions to crustaceans must never mask the delicate flavor of the shellfish; they should only add an interesting side note. The components of the marinade / cooking liquid I use here have some pretty potent flavor notes themselves. However the sheer brawn of the Prawns, coupled with the short marinating and quick cooking times don’t allow the ingredients to overpower these “beefy” little critters.

In this dish, I prepare the Prawns by poaching to guarantee tenderness. You can use this cooking method to replace boiling smaller shrimp for other recipes too. Read the Tips and Trending following the Preparation Steps for some suggestions.

Fierce Garlic Prawns with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
Serves: 4     Preparation Time: 45 Minutes     Cooking Time: 3 Minutes


• 6 Cloves Garlic, minced
• 1 Teaspoon Asian Chili Paste + 1 Tablespoon
• 2 Egg Yolks
• 1½ Cups Olive Oil
• 1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper, chopped
• Juice of ½ Lemon
• 1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar 
• 16 Prawns, cleaned, shelled and deveined

Preparation Steps

Step 1. Prepare the Aioli. In a food processor, combine ⅓ of the minced Garlic, 1 teaspoon of the Chili Paste and the Egg yolks. Start the food processor and after a few seconds, very slowly drizzle in all of the Olive Oil until blended. Add the Roasted Red Pepper and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a non-metal bowl, cover and set aside.

Step 2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining minced Garlic, 1 tablespoon of the Asian Chili Paste, the Lemon Juice and 1 tablespoon of Rice Vinegar. Add the Prawns and stir to coat with the mixture. Transfer the contents of the bowl into a zippered storage bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Step 3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Remove the Prawns from the marinade and set aside. Add the marinade to the pan and heat until it begins to simmer. Add the Prawns and poach for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and then turn the prawns over to finish cooking another 1 minute off the heat

Serve the Prawns alone or on a bed of Sesame Fire Noodles with a dollop of the Aioli on top and more on the side for dipping.

Garlic Prawns with Red Pepper Aioli

Tips and Trending

~ If you have concerns about using raw egg yolks in the aioli, combine ⅓ of the garlic, the chili paste and the roasted red pepper with 1½ cups of mayonnaise.  Keep covered at room temperature while you prepare the prawns.

~ Poaching shrimp instead of boiling produces much more tender results. Try poaching shrimp this way the next time you prepare some for a salad or shrimp cocktail. Smaller shrimp are easy to overcook, so set a stainless steel bowl in an ice bath, remove the cooked shrimp from the poaching liquid and toss them around in the ice cold bowl to halt the cooking. Then put the shrimp in a zipper storage bag and refrigerate until ready to use.

~ For shrimp cocktails, make a cocktail sauce that compliments the Asian flavors here by mixing ½ cup of ketchup with ½ cup of strained crushed tomatoes. Add a tablespoon of Asian chili paste, a ½ teaspoon of sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Stir to combine and let it set for ½ hour. Taste and adjust seasonings.

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