Friday, 11 November 2011

FBI summer food picks #1

Nothing says summer in Sydney than seafood (how's my alliteration?), so over the next few weeks, I'm going to cherry pick a few quintessential summer food favourites and tell you what to do with them. This week: Prawns. No, not ugly girls with great bodies, but those little critters Americans thing are present at every barbecue...and quite honestly, they generally are. Here are few tips when buying prawns and what to do with them.

Hey Good Looking

When buying prawns, look and see if all its legs, feelers and eyes are intact.  Secondly, give it a sniff. Fresh prawns will have a crisp, iodine (or seaweedy) aroma, with no signs of ammonia (that bleachy smell), or old fish.  When you eat a cooked prawn, it should have a firm texture and a slightly sweet flavour and not a strong, fishy aftertaste.

Flash Dance

Here's a super simple recipe for green (uncooked) prawns (serves 2)

- Remove the heads and shells from a dozen green prawns, leaving the tails on.
- Remove the intestinal tract by cutting along the back and removing the thread. Sit on some paper towel so they are not too wet when frying.
- In a hot pan, toss in a good knob of butter, diced garlic and chillis
- Once the garlic becomes translucent, throw in the prawns in. Resist the urge to flip them constantly and instead, leave them to brown on each side until the flesh becomes white and the edges have slightly caramelised. This should take no longer than about 4 minutes.
- Toss them straight out of the pan into a bowl and eat. If you're feeling healthy, you can serve it with a salad of baby leaves, some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Fresh vs Frozen

Don't be afraid to buy frozen prawns. The integrity and quality of prawns processed and packed frozen from live mean the integrity of the end product will be generally better than fresh ones that have been handled for days on ice. The best way to defrost prawns is to take them from their frozen state and dropping them into a bowl of iced, salty water. Use within 24 hours of thawing. Green prawns will begin to oxidise over a few hours, turning them black at the edges, but this is ok as long as they are consumed within a day.