KING PRAWN PASTA
This prawn pasta is perfect year-round, either jazz up a busy weeknight when you feel the need for a treat or impress that special someone on date night. This recipe can be made as mild or hot as you like it, just adjust the use of my Creole marinade to your liking. It takes under 30 minutes to whip up and is very easy to put together.
The secret is to get your hands on some nice fresh Australian king prawns. Prawns are quintessentially Australian, thanks to Paul Hogan’s TV commercials in America. He rose from obscurity with his blockbuster film Crocodile Dundee. The only thing was that in the US they don’t call them prawns so in his ad he said, “Throw another shrimp on the barbie.” I’m sure many of you have had the slogan said to you enthusiastically or perhaps said it to others in your very best Aussie accent.
For this dish it's critical to get fresh prawns and there are some tips on what to look for when buying them. Always have a small insulated bag or esky with an ice block in there to keep the prawns cold for on the way home. Next, go to a local fishmonger. Once there, look at the prawn heads for signs of black stains, then ask the fish monger if you can have a smell of one. Don’t worry, you won’t look silly; on the contrary the fishmonger will admire your dedication to fresh produce and will assume you are a chef or a serious food connoisseur.
Prawns should smell slightly sweet and remind you of a day by the beach. As always trust your instincts. I never buy prawns frozen as it’s much harder to tell how fresh they are. Another tip - if you don’t like peeling and deveining prawns simply ask your fishmonger to do it for you and they will have them ready in lightning speed. By far the best way to get them is straight off the trawler. If you're in SE Qld you can go down to The Spit on the Gold Coast. Alternatively head up to Mooloolaba if you go north or down to Ballina if heading south.
Prawns have been around for a long time - more than 450 million years! Did you know prawns only live for 2 to 3 years? They mature at about 6 to 8 months of age, and spawning occurs in offshore waters. King prawns tend to spawn throughout the year and a single prawn can spawn more than once in any one year, which is why when caught to official guidelines they can be kept at a sustainable level. They are a rich source of selenium, one of the most effective antioxidants at maintaining healthy cells.They also contain high levels of zinc, which is important to develop a healthy immune system. Furthermore, eating prawns helps build strong bones because they contain phosphorous, copper and magnesium.
You can dish up for that special someone or it can be a serve yourself kind of meal where you plonk it on the table and let your guests get involved.
PREP TIME: 10-15 mins
COOKING TIME: 25-30 mins
6-8 king prawns, peeled and deveined
2 tbsps CREOLE
2 tbsps oil
4 tbsps oil (for cooking)
3 cloves of garlic crushed
1/2 small onion diced
400g tin crushed tomatoes
2 tbsps tomato paste
250g spaghetti or fettuccini
Handful rocket leaves (optional)
1 x lemon cut into 4 wedges
In a large bowl mix CREOLE with oil to coat prawns. Marinate for 20 mins MAX.
In a medium heat frypan pour a splash of oil and add onion; fry for 30 seconds stirring.
Add garlic and cook until translucent rather than caramalized.
Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously, then season with salt and pepper (and an extra sprinkle of CREOLE to taste).
Pour in the crushed tomato, then season with salt and pepper and transfer to a small pot and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
Boil water in a large pot and cook the pasta 12 to 14 minutes.
Heat the frypan to high, add more oil, then add prawns one by one and cook on each side for 3 minutes or chargrill on the BBQ if you prefer.
Place cooked prawns on the chopping board and cut into thirds.
Strain pasta and put back into the pot. Pour over the sauce and mix the warm prawns delicately through the pot.
Top with fresh rocket before you dish up this spicy prawn pasta delight.