from one generation to the next
Prawns sold cooked are a wonderfully quick meal, but I have finicky eater in my house who prefers their meat and fish filleted and prawns ready peeled. I’m finicky too. I prefer to buy green prawns, unpeeled, sustainably caught in Australian waters and processed at sea.
Instead of messing with finger bowls at the table or compromising my principles in the kitchen I generally buy the green prawns I prefer. I take advantage of the flavour in the shells and make a delicious rich prawn stock to store in the freezer for another dish.
Steaming is the gentlest way to cook the prawns when I want to serve them cold. It preserves the delicate flavour in the meat and rapid chilling over ice ensures that the prawns don’t overcook and the texture remains al dente.
Ketchup based seafood cocktails sauce common in the 1970s have turned me off pink sauce for life so I usually serve a bowl of home made aoili as an accompaniment to prawns, then a few weeks ago I tried a Japanese influenced wasabi avocado cream when I made salmon roe sushi. The instant I tasted it I visualised it being perfect with prawns, and it was!
750g large green prawns
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon wasabi
1/2 are ripe avocado
1 teaspoon miring
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon tamari
1 Baby gem lettuce
Peel the prawns and make stock with the shells. How to here.
Place the prawns in a single layer on a plate that fits into a steamer. I use a 30cm Chinese bamboo steamer for this purpose. You will need to cook the prawns in 2-3 batches.
Steam the prawns over simmering water in a wok for roughly 6 minutes. They will look opaque when cooked. Add the juices left on the plate to the stock.
While the first batch is steaming, prepare a tray of ice with a layer of baking paper over the top. Have a second sheet of baking paper ready to cover the prawns and extra ice to place on top.
As the prawns finish cooking chill them quickly surrounded by ice, then remove to the refrigerator.
Gently separate the lettuce leaves, wash then thoroughly and spin dry.
Make the wasabi avocado cream by blitzing all the ingredients together in a small processor.
Cut each prawn tail into 3-4 pieces, then combine the prawn meat and the wasabi cream.
Spoon the prawn salad into the lettuce leaves and arrange on a platter.
Top with coarsely ground black pepper.
Makes approx 15 small serves