The Great Prawn Off


The other day I was wandering around the supermarket in a bit of a daze, trying to figure out what I was going to do for lunch, and I saw these beautiful little prawns. Usually I don’t like to buy fish from the supermarket because I’m not sure just how fresh it is, I’d rather buy it from the fishmonger’s, but some of the supermarkets have some fantastic stuff these days.

I love prawns but the key to cooking them is making sure that you only cook them for a couple of minutes max – nothing is worse than overcooked prawns. You want them to be pink but retain that crunch.

When I made this there was something missing and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me: garlic. So re-write has garlic, my one didn’t. Boo for me, yay for you. And as for it being over polenta, on the one hand it’s because I love polenta and I’d probably eat anything with it, on the other I have a vague memory of shrimp and grits? Ayway. This is awesome.

Chilli, Coriander & Garlic Prawns on Polenta

Handful of prawns
2 medium red chillies (bird’s eye chillies if you can get them), chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Handful of coriander, chopped finely
Knob of butter
200ml boiling water + stock cube/fresh stock of your choice
Chilli oil
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine about 2 tbsps of chilli oil, the coriander, chilli, garlic & prawns in a bowl. Mix around thoroughly and season a little. Leave to marinate.
2. Cook the polenta – now I can’t give you exact measurements here because I do it to eye, but for 200ml of water/stock you need about 1/2-3/4 cup of polenta. You want it to be thick enough that it absorbs the liquid, but not so thick that it clumps together. You can thin it out with a little water if this is too much polenta. I like to use Carluccio’s quick-cook polenta because it’s quicker than regular and a pretty good bargain for a big ol’ bag. I also cheat and use a stock cube because I don’t have the time/patience/storage space to make my own stock from fresh. If you have fresh stock – use it. Either vegetable, chicken, beef, veal – whatever you like – will do. When the polenta is cooked take it off the heat and add a knob of butter and stir through. You can also add a tiny bit of milk/cream/cream cheese if you want it a little creamier. I recommend it a little creamier. Yum. Season to taste.
3. In a separate pan, fry the prawn/chilli/garlic/coriander/chilli oil mixture for 2 mins MAX. They should be pink on the outside but still retain their crunchiness.
4. To serve, plate the polenta, then top with the prawns, some fresh coriander and a good drizzle of chilli oil.
5. OM-NOM-NOM-NOM-NOM. Enough said.

Yummies. Off to Nottingham this evening for some final graduant celebrations and the dreaded results on Thursday – wish me luck! Until next time, peace and love.

Jax x

3 Responses to “The Great Prawn Off”

  1. Monet Says:

    Jax, Wow! That plate of food is breathtaking. The yellow against the white? Just gorgeous. Thanks for sharing such pretty photos and a great recipe.

  2. Eric Official Says:

    OMG I love praws – seafood!!!
    Are you a cook? Damn, loads of scrumptious food!

  3. Jackie Says:

    Monet – thank you for your lovely comment =) I got a new toy recently, a squeezy bottle, but you can see where my unpracticed hand messed up the presentation a little… whoops!

    Eric – I love seafood too, especially in the summer months. Sooo perfect for hot weather, right? I'm not a professional by any means, but I love food. And cooking. And, er, eating. Thanks for dropping by!

    Jax x

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