School prawns, chilli, saltbush

School prawns, chilli, saltbush

By
From
Finding Fire
Serves
4

School prawns are one of the most delicious crustaceans, as they are the sweetest of all the prawns. At Firedoor we source prawns from just one fisherman who fishes a particular stretch of the Clarence River – and for some reason his prawns always taste better. Due to their small size, they are delicate and deteriorate rapidly, so must be super fresh off the boat. Often seen fried, the prawns taste even better off the grill and are best eaten with your fingers, crispy shell, legs and all. While you might find the idea of eating the shells texturally confronting, I urge you to give it a go.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g fresh school prawns (shrimp)
250ml extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 chilli, deseeded and finely sliced (reserve the seeds for the oil)
5g ginger root, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
zest of 1 orange
grapeseed oil, for spraying
sea salt
1 bunch flowering garlic chives
40g saltbush leaves
zest and juice of 1 lemon

Method

  1. 1. Prepare your embers.
  2. 2. Prepare the prawns. Rinse them, removing any weeds or small fish that may be in the catch. Carefully remove the heads from the prawns, leaving the legs attached to the tail. Reserve the heads for the oil.
  3. 3. Prepare the aromatic oil. Heat 50 ml (1¾ floz) of the olive oil in a cast-iron pan and roast the coriander seeds, chilli seeds, ginger and garlic over the open fire or in a wood oven for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the reserved prawn heads, crushing them with the back of a large spoon to release more flavour. Continue to roast over a high heat (the prawn heads will turn bright orange) until all the water has evaporated. Add the remaining olive oil and orange zest, and heat to 70°C (160°F). Simmer for 20 minutes. Cool slightly, then pass through a fine-mesh sieve. Reserve.
  4. 4. Spray the prawns sparingly with grapeseed oil and grill in a fine-mesh sieve directly on top of the hot embers for 4–5 minutes, tossing regularly until the prawns turn a pinkish hue.
  5. 5. Season with sea salt, add the garlic chives to the prawns and grill for a further 30 seconds. Transfer the prawns to a clean bowl.
  6. 6. In a small cast-iron pan, heat the aromatic oil. Add the chilli and the saltbush leaves and fry until crisp. Pour the chilli oil over the grilled prawns.
  7. 7. Toss the prawns with the lemon zest and juice, and serve immediately.
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