About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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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
(serves two)

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.

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.
  posted at 7:43 am

At 12:49 pm, Blogger Anh said...

First, this looks really good! I would love to taste some!

Second, I had problems in the past bringing some food back from oversea, too... (nothing in the prohibited list though). But it seems that the custom has been more relaxed lately, since my parents can send me some Vietnamese ingredients without nay problem.

At 1:52 pm, Blogger Kalyn said...

Very fun; it seems you may have created a Texan Australian dish.

At 2:32 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You done real good partner! I love the blue corn prawns. Really great thinking on your part. Maybe one day I'll get to try these Texan Australian Blue Corn Prawns. I'll bring more blue corn meal.
Really that is sort of funny as grits and blue corn meal are basically the same thing, just a color difference.
I'm oh so glad I wondered about the cod's liver - which was very excellent - and we had such a cool exchange!
Thanks many times over Neil.

At 8:29 pm, Blogger Lydia said...

Okay, I'm giggling; the shrimp do look just the tiniest bit like blue worms! But the dish sounds amazing, and you got some fabulous food gifts from Tanna. Blue corn and chipotles are two of the most wonderful foods from the southwest US. Enjoy!

At 7:50 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi anh, thanks for your compliments! I was thinking of you when I made this as I wanted to include some jicama but was nowhere near the shop you suggested in Springvale, though i didi ask the Asian grocer at Prahran Market who said that with advance warning he would get some for me.

Hi kalyn, more a Tex Mess, lol.

Hi tanna, it was so strange about the grits, personally I couldn't see the problem. You should have seen me with the corn meal, I didn't waste a speck. Thanks so much for really thoughtful gifts.

Hi lydia, I think saying worms is kind, more like big, fat maggots!!! The salad worked out well, it really looked better before the prawns went on top, and as I said to Anh, will include some jicama next time.

At 1:02 am, Blogger Blue Zebra said...

Hi Neal how cool that you and MKIHC exchanged items!!! Too bad on the grits. They are quintessential Southern fair and so delicious! The blue corn prawns and complete dinner sounds incredible and right up my Texan alley!


At 2:33 pm, Blogger gigi said...

You've invented Tex Mex-tralian! Yum!

How funny that they took exception to the grits but not the blue cornmeal ~ who would understand the mysterious ways of customs officials? (I hope it was a sweet note.)

At 1:43 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi blue zebra, well, if there is something Aussie that you're dying to try...

Hi gigi, not as weird as a Polish/Mexican restaurant that actually exists in London, I kid you not!

At 12:16 pm, Anonymous Ellie said...

Very awesome looking/sounding dish, and I think the plating looks quite alright :) Though, I think I've just had an idea for another post after reading this one...

At 12:53 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi ellie, it really worked out well. Why I was down on it was that it looked better as a photo before the prawns and coriander , which of course I never snapped. I intend to do it again, but just as a poached prawn dish. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

At 11:56 pm, Blogger Jeanne said...

Chiptle mayonnaise? OMG, YES!!!! Blue food always fascinates me. Does it taste any different to yellow corn?


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