Prawn Pan­grat­tato

Post - - RECIPES -

32 medium raw prawns (for a starter, fig­ure on 4 - 5 medium prawns per per­son or 2 large lan­goustines. For a main, quite a few more).

For the pan­grat­tato:

120g stale bread crumbs

1 mild long red chilli

2 sprigs of oregano

3 tbs ex­tra vir­gin olive oil

3 gar­lic cloves, minced

zest of 1 le­mon salt and black pep­per to taste

For the fen­nel casse­role:

2 bulbs of fen­nel

80g but­ter

2 tsp fen­nel seeds salt to taste

3 gar­lic cloves

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

3-4 tbs wa­ter

2 tbs tomato sauce

1 tbs Pernod/Ouzo (op­tional)

300ml fish stock

3 ripe plum toma­toes

1 large hand­ful of Ital­ian pars­ley (30g at least)

16 Kala­mata olives, pit­ted black pep­per to taste ex­tra vir­gin olive oil some fen­nel fronds for gar­nish

Start with the pan­grat­tato. Tear the bread into large pieces and wedge into a food pro­ces­sor.

Pulse un­til you have coarse crumbs. De-seed and finely dice the chilli. Pick the leaves from the oregano sprigs and roughly chop the leaves.

Pour the olive oil into a heavy­bot­tomed pan. Stir in the gar­lic and diced chilli, and cook very gen­tly for 2 min­utes.

You ab­so­lutely do not want the gar­lic and chilli to burn at this stage, just soften and mel­low a lit­tle.

Fold the mix­ture through the bread­crumbs. Fry the bread mix­ture in the pan for 2 min­utes, turn­ing over gen­tly to toast un­til the mix­ture be­comes re­ally crispy, fra­grant and golden.

Zest the le­mon over the crumbs, scat­ter over the chopped oregano and sea­son with salt and black pep­per. Stir it all to­gether and tip onto a kitchen pa­per towel to drain ex­cess oil.

Pre­pare the prawns by peel­ing the shells away from the bod­ies and leav­ing the tails in­tact. Us­ing a sharp par­ing knife, cut along the back of each prawn and re­move the dark vein with the tip of the knife.

Place the pre­pared prawns in a clean bowl, cover, and place back in the fridge to chill.

Halve the fen­nel bulbs and re­move the outer lay­ers and core, keep­ing enough of the root to hold the pieces to­gether as you cut the fen­nel into slices. Set aside.

In a casse­role dish with a lid, heat the but­ter over low heat un­til it foams.

Add the fen­nel seeds and cook for a minute be­fore adding the sliced fen­nel and sea­son­ing with salt.

Slowly cook the fen­nel over low heat for 10 to 12 min­utes.

Once it starts to caramelise, peel and thinly slice the gar­lic, then add it with the dried chilli to the pan.

Splash in 3 ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter, cover and let the gar­lic and chilli sim­mer in the but­tery fen­nel mix­ture for a few min­utes to soften.

Add another ta­ble­spoon or more of wa­ter to en­sure that the fen­nel “steams” in the mix­ture and loses its hard bite.

Stir through the tomato sauce, Pernod/Ouzo (if us­ing) and fish stock, and let it all bub­ble for 5 min­utes over a high heat.

Serves 8.

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