Last Wednesday I spoke at a networking event where I shared a story told to me by a client about vanilla farming in Madagascar.
Then, on Friday, looking for ideas for a weekend meal to which I had invited 6 people I strolled into Steve Hatt where I happened upon the most beautiful (and enormous and expensive!) Madagascar tiger prawns. So, in the spirit of improvisation, I accepted the Madagascar offer and invented this. It was delicious.
The pictures show the whole prawn, and then a prawn without the head and butterflied. The ones I cooked were about 15 cm long with heads on.
Serves 4 as a starter:
4 (or 8 if you’re using smaller prawns or feeling very generous) Madagascar tiger prawns, heads removed, shells left on and butterflied. There’s a good video on how to butterfly prawns on the Jamie Oliver site.
2 big garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped red chilli
juice of 1 lime
4-5 drops of vanilla essence
Splash of tequila (optional)
Olive oil for frying.
What to do:
Mix the lime juice and vanilla essence in a small jug
Place the butterflied prawns in a bowl with shells down. Drizzle the lime and vanilla mix over the flesh and set aside to marinate for an hour.
Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, drop in the chilli and garlic and fry for 2 or 3 minutes on a high heat until the garlic begins to brown.
Keeping the heat high, place the prawns carefully – flesh side down – in the pan. Move them around gently to stop them from sticking. After 2 minutes use a fork to turn them over, press them down carefully with a spatula or the back of the fork so that the shell side is as flat as possible in the hot pan. Fry for another 3 or 4 minutes (for very large prawns, less if you are using smaller ones). For the last minute, turn the heat up to max and pour over any remaining lime and vanilla marinade and the splash of tequila for a little extra flavour kick.
Serve with a small salad of green leaves (I used gem and rocket) and thin slices of sweet red pepper with a balsamic vinegar dressing.