A Mediterranean-style version of good ol’ prawn cocktail
Added by tonemid | Sat 18 Jul 2009 @ 17:15
I love old-fashioned prawn cocktails. I also love Romesco sauce, particularly when served with fish or shellfish. So I thought – why not combine the two?
Recipes for Romesco vary a lot: they come with or without bread (I find bread to be essential in order to obtain the right consistency – particularly as I don’t core the tomatoes), with raw tomatoes, roasted tomatoes or sundried tomatoes, with walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds (raw or toasted), or a combination, or just ground almonds (I absolutely love the flavour of toasted almonds in this sauce, so that is what I use), with or without roasted red peppers, with or without that lovely Spanish spice that is pimentón de la Véra (smoked paprika). The only ‘obligatory’ ingredients seem to be tomatoes (in some form), ditto with nuts, plus vinegar, oil, and some form of paprika and/or chilli.powder.
This is my very own recipe, which I have arrived at through making Romesco a number of times - and of course, through using ingredients that I like.
300 g peeled prawns (cooked ones)
2 little gem lettuces
6-8 asparagus or spring onions
1 courgette, sliced
Finely chopped red chilli
3 fat garlic cloves, unpeeled
100 g stale white bread, without crust, in chunks
50 ml sherry vinegar
˝ tsp pimentón de la Véra piccante (or 2 tsp paprika + Ľ tsp cayenne) (or to taste)
150 g almond slivers, toasted in a dry pan
120 ml extra virgin olive oil
Steam the asparagus or the spring onions in salted water (if using asparagus, remove the tips before adding the asparagus to the pan – add the tips to the pan at the last minute). Drain. Brush the asparagus stems or spring onions with olive oil, and griddle in a hot griddle pan. Chop into 1 cm chunks.
Griddle or fry the courgette slices. Transfer to a bowl, and toss well in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil. finely chopped red chilli pepper, and sea salt.
Roast whole tomatoes and unpeeled garlic cloves in a 150C oven for half an hour or so. Meanwhile, soak the bread in the vinegar. Peel the tomatoes and the garlic, and place in a food processor together with all the other ingredients. Pulse until almost smooth. The sauce should have pesto consistency. If it is too runny, add breadcrumbs. If it is too dry, add a bit of plain olive oil. Check seasoning, and add more salt, pimentón or vinegar if needed. Coat the prawns in the sauce (The Romesco recipe gives far more sauce than what is needed for this dish – less than half of it will do!)
- Either (the nice old-fashioned way):
Shred the lettuce leaves finely, and divide half of them amongst four dessert glasses. Chop the griddled and marinated courgettes, mix with asparagus/spring onions, and put half of this mixture on top. Add half the coated prawns. Repeat. Place sprigs of chervil on top.
- Or (the more modern way):
Divide whole little gem leaves (plus possibly some small, nice young leaves) among four plates. Put courgette slices on top, and then prawns in Romesco sauce. Scatter asparagus (plus tips) or spring onions over the top. Some chervil is also nice. Serve with crusty bread, and with or without aioli on the side.