It is BC spot prawn season. Need I say more? (Well…I can say more, but I will likely post about these succulent creatures once again, so until then, keep your ears to the ground, and sustainable seafood on your plates).
This Vancouver Sun article features 12 spot prawn recipes from Vancouver’s top chefs. Today’s Scrumptious Seafood recipe is from executive chef Frank Pabst of the Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, one of the 12 featured recipes in the article.
Spot Prawns with Samphire and Miso-Yuzu Sauce
From Frank Pabst, executive chef of Blue Water Cafe
This recipe calls for shiro miso, a light-coloured miso paste made with rice, available at Asian supermarkets. It also calls for samphire, also known as sea asparagus or Salicornia, which you can buy at specialty food stores. Look for vibrant green stalks without brown spots or limpness. If you cannot find sea asparagus, substitute pencil- thin spears of green asparagus.
- 16 fresh jumbo spot prawns
- 7 oz samphire
- 1/4 cup sake
- 3 tbsp shiro miso (white miso paste)
- 1/4 cup beurre blanc
- 1 tbsp yuzu juice
- 2 cups canola oil,for deep-frying
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice seasoning) or cayenne pepper
Remove the prawn tails from the heads and peel o¤ the shell, leaving the tail segment attached to the meat. Set aside the heads. Arrange the prawn tails in a single layer, backs up, on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With a sharp paring knife, make an incision lengthwise along the back of each prawn, then open it and use the tip of your knife to remove and discard any entrails.
Remove and discard the shell from the prawn heads, reserving the innards of the heads in a small bowl. Thoroughly wash the prawn bodies in cold water to remove any sand. Set aside to dry on a kitchen towel.
Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil on high heat. Wash samphire and, with a sharp knife, remove and discard the tough end of each sprig. Place samphire in the boiling water and cook for 15 seconds. Refresh immedi- ately in the ice bath to keep its vibrant green colour.
To make the sauce, heat sake in a small pot on medium heat. Add the innards of the prawn heads and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in shiro miso, then transfer to a small food processor and purée. Strain this mixture through a fine- mesh sieve into a pot, then add beurre blanc and yuzu juice. Season to taste.
Heat canola oil in a deep sauté pan on high heat until it reaches 350f (use a thermometer to test the temperature). In a small bowl, toss prawn bodies in cornstarch, shaking o¤ any excess. Fry prawns for 30 seconds until they crisp and start to become golden. Using tongs, remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Season with salt.
To serve: Gently heat the sauce on medium-low heat. Add samphire and heat until warmed through, then divide the sauce among four warmed appetizer plates.
Preheat the oven to 400 f. Place prawn tails on a baking sheet, season with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for two to three minutes, until just about cooked. Arrange four prawn tails on top of each serving of samphire. Spoon sauce over the tails and arrange crispy prawn bodies randomly on the plate. Garnish with a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi (or cayenne).
Suggested wine: A lighter white wine with dried-fruit aroma, such as a British Columbia pinot auxerrois.