Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Blue Corn Prawns & Mexican Style Salad
Okay, so I was in a rush.
Which after waiting a couple of months does seem a bit weird. A while ago, Tanna from My Kitchen In Half Cups was wondering about smoked cod's liver that I blogged about, so I sent her a couple of tins to try. In return, Tanna sweetly sent me a couple of things that I had talked to her about, but there was like, A DELAY. A huge delay really and we both wondered what had happened until the day a couple of months later a wonderfully scented box arrived with a note from customs. It seems they weren't to thrilled about some grits that Tanna had included and took them out...which seems strange really, when you consider that they left in a bag of blue corn meal. But it was really cool, because if I had to choose, blue corn meal would have got the nod. Perhaps that custom's person was a lover of impeccably authentic Mexican cuisine and let one slip.
It didn't take long to figure out what I wanted to cook in Tanna's honour. Within a day or two I decided to make prawns coated with blue corn meal sitting in a Mexican inspired salad and then move on to blue corn tortillas at a later date. The only trouble was, every weekend was taken up and the weekends are the only time available for food experiments, so it wasn't until last Saturday that the planets aligned (with some coaxing) and a new dish was born.
Unfortunately, in my rush to get to the table, the dish could have been better plated; it actually looked nicer before the prawns and fresh coriander were added. The prawns were simple enough and the salad sprang from the idea of cooked salsa - some of the vegetables were cooked, but not pounded to a sauce. The actual sauce was a simple mayonnaise, with the acid coming from lime juice and flavoured with another of Tanna's little gifts, some powdered chipotle chillies. Of course if you don't have blue corn meal, some freshly poached prawns would suffice.
Tanna, this one's for you.
Blue Corn Prawns with Mexican Style Salad
12 large prawns, peeled and deveined
flour for dusting
1 egg, beaten
blue corn meal, for coating
oil for frying
12-14 cherry tomatoes
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into thick rounds
1 avocado, peeled and cut in chunks
1 soft lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
1/2 bunch coriander, coarsely chopped
salt & fresh ground pepper
wedges of lime for serving
Season the flour with salt & pepper and coat the prawns in it, then dip in the beaten egg followed by the blue corn meal, set aside. Heat a ridged grill pan to hot and dry fry the cherry tomatoes and onion rings until lightly charred, leave to cool slightly. Fry the prawns in oil and drain. Line a plate with lettuce leaves and arrange the prawns, cherry tomatoes, onion slices broken into rings, avocado chunks, season with salt & pepper, then shower on coarsely chopped coriander, garnish with lime wedges. Serve with chipotle mayonnaise.
1 egg yolk
1 heaped teaspoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
juice 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or
1 chipotle chile in adobo finely chopped
salt & fresh ground pepper
1 cup neutral flavoured oil
In a mixing bowl place the egg yolk, dijon mustard, garlic, lime juice, chipotle powder or chile and salt & pepper. Whisk until combined, then whisk in oil one drop at a time until about two tablespoons are absorbed, then slowly pour the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the oil is used up. If it's too thick, you can whisk in some cooled boiled water to thin.