Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Christmas Prawn Tray

I am a real sucker for prawns. I love them year round, and I never quite understood why they are supposed to be a Christmas treat. Anyway, as the wise man says, who cares and let’s party. This tray takes quite some time and work, but it is totally worth it.

About 40 king prawns, without their shell.
10 rashers streaky bacon
3 bay leaves
about 10 slices of good quality smoked salmon
½ cup sesame seeds
1 cup of oil
½ cup of chilli jelly
40 medium sized wooden skewers
¼ cup freshly torn parsley
172 tablespoon freshly chopped garlic
1 cup olive oil
2 egg yolks
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Put a skewer through each prawn, making sure to go through it twice – i.e. to stab it both in the neck and on the tail.

Put the lemon juice and 1 egg yolk in the food processor and blitz, slowly adding the oil in a steady stream for about 5 minutes. Take the mayonnaise out of the processor, adjust its consistency with a little bit of water (it can get a bit too thick) and add the parsley and the garlic. Put the mayonnaise in a small pot, or in a champagne glass, and place it at the centre of a large round platter. Each type of prawn will take up ¼ of the platter and the guests will be able to dip the prawns in the mayo at their liking. Remember to warn them it was raw eggs in it! If you are catering for a group with lots of pregnant women and small children or ill people, it is probably best to use pasteurised eggs or mayo out of a jar.

Put 20 prawns into a pan of hot salty boiling water and let them boil for 2 minutes. Then take them out and let them cool.
Wrap 10 boiled prawns in the salmon slices, adding a little branch of dill inside each wrap. Put them on one quarter of the big plate, with the prawns close to the mayonnaise jar and the free end of the skewer on the outside for your guests to grab.

The remaining 10 boiled prawns, spread them with abundant chilli jelly on both sides. Stick them on a baking tray covered in tinfoil and leave in the preheated oven at 180°C for maximum 10 minutes, until the jelly has caramelised. Set on another quarter of the plate and leave to cool.

Take 10 raw prawns and wrap them carefully in the wet bacon. Take the last 10 prawns, dip them in 1 egg yolk and cover them in sesame seeds. You can set these two aside until your guests arrive.

When your guests arrive, start frying the last two kinds of prawn. Put the bacon wrapped ones in a frying pan with a tablespoon of regular oil and they bay leaves and let it fry on medium-low heat for 5 minutes (2 and a half minutes on each side or until the bacon is all crispy and delicious). Take them out and put them on one quarter of the plate.
Warm up the rest of the regular oil in a frying pan at maximum heat, and deep fry the sesame coated prawns for about 3 minutes or until they are golden. Leave them on kitchen paper to get rid of the excess oil for a minute, then put them on the last quarter of the plate.

These are beautiful to look at and delicious and a great party mixer! With this you only need to scatter some trays of giant green olives around the living room, a couple of baskets with freshly cut baguette and some fruit and nuts in a centrepiece to have a perfectly reasonable Christmas fete. Follow these up with mint chocolate strips or mini Christmas puddings and you will win everybody’s hearts!

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