Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Australia seems to be doing its level best to live up to all the cliches about it at the moment. We have been through a summer of horrendous bushfires and destructive floods, that have mostly brought out the best in people. Generosity, bravery, mateship and an indomitable spirit are easily found every time I pick up a newspaper at the moment. But at the same time, some not so attractive traits are also on display: relentless undermining of our tall poppies, small mindedness and various governments that could not run a bath. And in case you missed the news, the sharks and crocodiles are also doing their bit to hold up our international reputation as a wild and dangerous place.
So just to make sure that all cliches were cemented into place, we threw some prawns (or as Paul Hogan would say, shrimp) on the barbie last weekend. Marinated for about 10 minutes before being served with thai chilli jam, they were really delicious. The marinade recipe comes from The Spirit House restaurant at Yandina in Queensland - if you are ever travelling in the Sunshine Coast, their cooking classes are wonderful. If you have never cooked with prawns here are some tips:
- green prawns should be kept in a box filled with ice and water in the fridge, to keep them as cold as possible.
- if you are not eating them the same day, make sure you ask your fish monger whether they will still be OK when you want to serve them (he will know how long since they came from the fish market)
- to peel, pull off the head, then pulling at the legs, remove the shell from the body of the prawn, leaving the tail in place. Devein by gently slicing about 1mm into the back of the prawn - you will see the vein and can pull it out.
- do not marinated for too long as the marinade will "cook" the prawns
- it is worth skewering prawns if you are barbecuing them - it helps them cook a bit more evenly, and makes them more manageable for whoever is holding the tongs. Push a skewer through the prawn starting in the middle of the tail.
- washing your hands with soda water helps remove the prawn smell
- if you get rubbish collections only once a week, double bag the prawn head and shells and keep in your freezer until it is collection day, or your bin will stink (trust me on this one)
Barbecued Garlic Prawns
adapted from "Hot Plate" from Spirit House Restaurant and Cooking School
1 kg green medium king prawns
2 cloves garlic, crushed
50ml olive oil
juice 1/2 lemon
2 tbls sea salt
Peel and devein the prawns leaving the tail. Skewer the prawns. Comine marinade ingredients and mix well. Drizzle over prawns making sure each one is coated. Allow prawns to sit for 5-10 mins. Grill on a barbecue until prawns are pink and cooked through (a couple of minutes).
Serve with chilli jam, aioli or any other sauce that appeals.