This is another recipe utilizing more leftovers from Christmas – this time leftover frozen cooked prawns, tinned asparagus and pouring cream. You could certainly use uncooked prawns, however, and fresh asparagus too if you have those instead. The sauce is made using a strained stock consisting of the leftover prawn heads and shells, boiled up with garlic, a bay leaf, and some peppercorns. The result was a rich and very tasty essence of prawn that really delivers the taste of the sea to your sauces. Here are the recipes for the stock/essence, the creamy garlic prawns and asparagus, and the pilaf…
Lord Perry’s Essence of Prawn
heads and shells of 1 to 1.5 kg of prawns
1 whole head of garlic, chopped in half (through the cloves)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 tablespoons brandy
a little oil for frying
water to cover
- In a large pot, heat the oil until smoking hot. Add all ingredients except the water and brandy and cook over high heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until all the prawn heads and shells turn a very deep red colour and the aroma is nice and roasty.
- Stir constantly and try to keep the sediment off the bottom of the pot so it doesn’t burn. As you stir, use the spoon to break up the prawns heads a little to release more flavour.
- Add the brandy and cook for a minute or two.
- Add enough water to barely cover the prawns.
- Stir well and bring everything up to the boil.
- Reduce to simmer and leave to cook for about 25 minutes. Skim constantly.
- When ready, pour through a fine strainer, directing the liquid into another saucepan.
- Put over high heat and reduce liquid by two thirds.
This is a concentrated essence and you will only use a couple of tablespoons of it for this recipe. The rest can be kept frozen until needed. You can simply use it to enrich other creamy seafood sauces like this one, but it’s also a great way to add flavour to such dishes as stir fries, pasta sauces (e.g. marinara), soups and chowders, etc.
Creamy garlic prawns with asparagus
1 to 1.5 kg prawns, peeled and de-veined
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 onion, finely diced
butter for frying
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 to 2 tablespoons prawn essence (from recipe above)
400ml pouring cream
1 salt-reduced chicken stock cube
425g tinned asparagus, drained
very generous grinding of black pepper
dried dill to garnish
- Heat the butter in a large pan.
- Sautee the onions and garlic over medium heat for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent.
- Add the sherry. Let it reduce until almost completely evaporated.
- Add the cream and allow to reduce until it starts to thicken.
- Add the prawn essence and stock cube, and mix well.
- Add the prawns. If you are using pre-cooking prawns, allow them to just heat through – don’t boil them or anything or cook for a prolonged time or else they will toughen. If you are using raw prawns the same thing applies, however they will of course take more cooking time than pre-cooked ones – perhaps 5 or so minutes or until just tender.
- Add the asparagus at the last minute. If you are using fresh asparagus, however, you will need to put it in earlier – it will need a few minutes cooking time.
Serve with rice pilaf. We garnished ours with a light sprinkling of dried dill for added flavour and aroma.
2 cups arborio rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
- Heat the butter in a pot.
- Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, or until translucent.
- Add the rice and fry it with the butter and onion until it turns opaque.
- Add the chicken stock and a little salt.
- Cover the pot and bring to the boil.
- When it had reached boiling point, reduce the heat to the lowest setting.
- Allow the rice to cook for another 15 minutes – lid on. Don’t lift the lid!
- Turn off the heat and allow to stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving – lid still on!
- For a richer result, you can fold some more butter through the rice before serving. Adjust the seasoning with salt if necessary.