Who could turn down blogging about one of our local treasures? Sort of simple, and super delicious. If you can boil a pot of water, you can definitely do this!
The danger of watching one of those “exotic cooking shows” on the Cooking channel late at night is this: we found ourselves in one of Los Angeles’ downtown fish markets at 6am the next morning (in search of ceviche worthy fish, for our “Peru at home/post trip” blogging) staring at what we just saw cooked on TV the night before….
Our eyes quickly dilated with excitement, and the “OH!!! I can do that!! That Asian super-chef cooked these on TV last night, and it looked really simple” ego/voice-inside-my-head kicked in. There goes another impulse purchase. Ha ha. We bought our prawns live, as fresh as you can get.
Mentally, I thought I would be prepared to cook these — but bringing them home and actually cooking them *LIVE* is a whole other matter: if you’ve ever seen the movie “Julie and Julia” — it really was similar to that lobster-killer scene. There was a lot of unanticipated shrieking after I realized that the prawns were still very much alive and kicking, and then came the a mild freak out session when “we” had to figure out how “we” were going to cook the suckers. When I heard “You wanted to buy these, so you should cook them” line, well.. it sort of snapped me back into reality.
There is nothing like a challenge, and there it was: 4 little prawns and me. David and Goliath — except that I felt like David compared to the prawns.
Boiling prawns is not that complicated: the main thing is that it’s best done in a pot of boiling water that is deep enough to dip them, head first, to avoid unnecessary “curling”. I used a set of tongs, so I didn’t have to really touch them “live”.
(**One thing to note: we’re including these as “low sodium” because we’re assuming that most people only eat 2 (large, 14 grams) for an appetizer (the USDA measures sodium @ 79mg per 14 gram serving….so, use we don’t go out there and eat a cupful at a time).
Fully immerse the prawns into a pot of boiling water:
- 5-6 seconds if you want them “Asian style” (which is mostly translucent, and very sushi-esque).
- 8-10 seconds for the rest of us, who like them “mostly” but not fully cooked.
You twist the head off, and peel back the tail’s shell – and voila, you’re ready to dip the goodness. The brown (brain-type) matter located inside of the head is also up for grabs, but I”m not a super exotic eater: my husband tried the “brown matter”, in fact he ate all four of them — guess he must have liked it
We’re lucky when it comes to the dip of choice: several years ago, we discovered the Japanese’s secret ingredient called Yuzu. It’s a citrus, kind of tastes like a lemon, tangerine, and grapefruit, all rolled into one — and it’s really is one of the most amazing tasting citrus’ around (below: picture of our Yuzu in bloom).
We were so in love with the flavor profile, that we searched high and low (it was a lot of calling around), found a Yuzu tree, and planted it in our front yard. The first year we didn’t get any fruit; the second year, we got three; and last year, we had a small “crop”, maybe 25. We harvested the juice (there are a ton of pesky little seeds) in the fall, and typically only pull out the juice for special occasions — this was definitely one of them!!
You can make a low sodium dip by using a ratio of 3 parts Yuzu to 1 part olive oil — or simply go big — we dipped the prawns into the 100% Yuzu juice. I suspect that this would work as a great butter sauce substitute when paired with Lobster – as the prawns have a very similar flavor profile.
Would I do this again? Yep. It’s kind of like drinking freshly squeezed orange juice (from my 10 lbs of oranges blog post): once we’ve tasted heaven, we’ll be back for more.