Food & Drink Magazine

Baked Prawns

By Weavethousandflavors

Baked Prawns On a Bed of Tomato & Marsala Chutney 04
 
Chutney
!

Just the term conjures up a spicy, sweet and tangy  assortment of ingredients like dry fruits, mango or tomatoes and is a lovely way to dress up the most mundane of ingredients.

Not that I am saying that prawns are mundane. Far from it! So here is what's called a win-win. 

It's also what I like to call organic cooking, at its best. You know when you begin with a handful of ingredients and go from there. I didn't really set out to make a chutney - I just wanted a delish base for the prawns.

And then I started pulling things out of the pantry, the last of the pine nuts, some dried cranberries, some Marsala and the list goes on. It was only when it arrived at the table that we realised - it's chutney alright!

Who knew that chutney and prawns would be the new Brad & Angelina of the culinary world - you know, sizzling hot minus all the kids!

We can all use some sizzle now and then, non?

 

Baked Prawns On a Bed of Tomato & Marsala Chutney - Ingredients
Baked Prawns Tomato & Marsala Chutney -Prepare  Ingredients

Gather the ingredients -

 

jumbo uncooked prawns (defrosted if frozen), large red onion (sweet, spanish), celery stalks with leaves, garlic cloves, ripe, fresh plum or roma tomatoes, pine nuts, capers- drained,dried cranberries, light brown sugar, Marsala (sweet wine), fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and fennel fronds for garnish

Prepare the ingredients -

Prawns - Shell and de-vein. Butterfly the prawns by cutting through the back with a sharp knife, stopping before cutting all the way through. Set aside.

Onion - Skin, discard ends. Quarter and then cut into 1/8" thick quarter circles.

Garlic - Skin and crush the cloves under a knife or mallet.

 

Celery - Cut away bottom 1-1/2" and then dice 1/2" pieces and set aside.

 

Tomatoes - Peel using a vegetable slicer. Chop and set aside.

 

Baked Prawns Tomato & Marsala Chutney - Temper spices

 

Baked Prawns Tomato & Marsala Chutney -Saute onions
 

In a cast iron pan, about 9" in diameter, on medium high heat, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil till almost fuming.

Add the fennel seeds, red pepper flakes and garlic. Allow the fennel to crackle and garlic to lightly brown.

 

Add the onions and 1 tbs light brown sugar. This will help caramelize the onions. Saute for about a minute.

  

 



Baked Prawns Tomato & Marsala Chutney - Saute celery & nuts
Baked Prawns Tomato & Marsala Chutney - Add tomatoes etc

Add the diced celery and the pine nuts. Saute for about 2 minutes till the onions have softened.

Add the chopped tomatoes, dried cranberries, capers, remaining 1 tbs sugar, salt and saute for 2-3 minutes till the tomatoes soften a bit.



Baked Prawns Tomato & Marsala Chutney - Saute tomatoes etc
 
Baked Prawns Tomato & Marsala Chutney - Add marsala

Add the marsala wine and bring to a simmer. Cover with a tight fitting lid and on medium heat cook for about 10-12 minutes stirring once. Add no water.

Taste and adjust seasonings.



Baked Prawns Tomato & Marsala Chutney - Arrange prawns on chutney

 

Now arrange the prawns in a single layer over the chutney. Arrange the prawns artistically in a circle with all tails pointing toward the center or in a linear fashion if the pan is oval shaped.

 

Uncovered, place the pan in the hot oven on the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes till the prawns are pink, no longer translucent.

Cook's Note - The cooking time may vary depending on the size of the prawns so keep as eye on them 6-8 minutes on.

 

Baked Prawns On a Bed of Tomato & Marsala Chutney 03
 

Garnish with fennel fronds and serve immediately.

Some lovely crusty bread and butter is wonderful with this & a glass of wine won't hurt either!

The chutney with the varied hints of sweetness from the marsala wine, the occasional bite of cranberries is splendid against the natural tangy sweetness of the tomatoes & the tart snap from the capers.

The chutney works in harmony with the natural sweet meat of the prawns and is so rich yet delicate in flavor and texture. Simple to prepare, when souped up with crusty bread and swallows of good wine, it is anything but!

 

Recipe for

Baked Prawns On a Bed of Tomato-Marsala Chutney

Preparation time - 15 minutes

Cooking time - 20 minutes

Baking time - 8-10 minutes

Serves 4

Shopping list  

 1-1/4 lb jumbo uncooked prawns (defrosted if frozen)

1/2 large red onion (sweet, spanish)

2 stalk celery with leaves (to yield 1/2 cup diced)

2 cloves garlic

5 ripe, fresh plum or roma tomatoes

2 tbs pine nuts

2 tbs capers, drained

1/4 cup dried cranberries

2 tbs light brown sugar

1/2 cup Marsala (sweet wine)

1 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 cup olive oil + 1/2 tbs olive oil to drizzle

1 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp salt for prawns

Fennel fronds for garnish

Preparation -

Prawns - Shell and de-vein. Butterfly the prawns by cutting through the back with a sharp knife, stopping before cutting all the way through. Set aside.

Onion - Skin, discard ends. Quarter and then cut into 1/8" thick quarter circles.

Garlic - Skin and crush the cloves under a knife or mallet.

Celery - Cut away bottom 1-1/2" and then dice 1/2" pieces and set aside.

Tomatoes - Peel using a vegetable slicer. Chop and set aside.

Method -

Preheat the oven to 425 deg F.

In a cast iron pan, about 9" in diameter, on medium high heat, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil till almost fuming.

Add the fennel seeds, red pepper flakes and garlic. Allow the fennel to crackle and garlic to lightly brown.

Add the onions and 1 tbs light brown sugar. This will help caramelize the onions. Saute for about a minute.

Add the diced celery and the pine nuts. Saute for about 2 minutes till the onions have softened.

Add the chopped tomatoes, dried cranberries, capers, remaining 1 tbs sugar, salt and saute for 2-3 minutes till the tomatoes soften a bit.

Add the marsala wine and bring to a simmer. Cover with a tight fitting lid and on medium heat cook for about 10-12 minutes stirring once. Add no water.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Now arrange the prawns in a single layer over the chutney. Arrange the prawns artisticcally in a circle with all tails pointing toward the center or in a linear fashion if the pan is oval shaped.

Uncovered, place the pan in the hot oven on the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes till the prawns are pink, no longer translucent.

Cook's Note - The cooking time may vary depending on the size of the prawns so keep as eye on them 6-8 minutes on.

Garnish with fennel fronds and serve immediately with some lovely crusty bread and butter. A glass of wine won't hurt either!

Enjoy!

 


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