So we're into Spring and well on the way to Summer. Out here on the Pacific Coast that also means longer days and extended times for fun and outdoor activities. And we all know what is the best thing about Summer.
Well---I mean, besides cute girls in Summer outfits...😄
But we did mean cookouts. And said cute girls are usually up for a party on the patio, or by the pool, or on the beach, or the backyard barbecue pit. And a sure-fire (but rather simple) culinary lure for the opening salvo of party season are tasty Grilled Prawn Sandwiches.
This recipe came to me via a former owner of a seafood bar. This is for 1 1/2 lbs of prawns---enough for about 6 hungry people. You can increase this for the size of your crowd.
Boil the (cleaned) prawns in salt water (4 tbsps. salt to 4 qts. water). This usually only takes about 3-5 minutes. As soon as they begin turning pink, remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into ice water (with the same amount of salt dissolved in it).
Add to mixture 1 chopped bunch of Cilantro (stems removed); juice of two limes and add the peels. 2 large Habanero Peppers, seeded and chopped; and six bruised garlic cloves. Then two teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle about 3 tbsps. of honey over the top; then cover loosely and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
At party time, scoop from the marinade and heat on the grill until heated through. Then put on a toasted, buttered French Roll with a favorite sauce. I've found that red cocktail sauces work best. Heinz 57 brand steak sauce is also very good. Tomato-based sauces seem to go well with this kind of seafood.
At any rate, a side of tater-tots and coleslaw with a cool beverage seems to renew your faith in life.
Prawns are one of mankind's most ancient foods. Fossils off the coast of Africa indicate that they existed as long as 250 million years ago. There is a lot of online confusion, though, about the differences between prawns and shrimp. There are some biological differences, but for culinary purposes they are more or less the same. For recipes like these, however, sizing is most important. And there is actually a scale for that, used for grading the tasty crustaceans. You can find the proper size by noting how many prawns are in a pound. What's classified as 'Jumbo' is about 2 dozen per pound; and that's about right for this dish.
Believe it or not, there are 'Colossal' grades. At the top of this scale are 'Extra Colossal' which are 4-5 prawns to the pound. I've never seen one that big, but they must exist. The tiny cocktail shrimp are at the opposite side at 62-69 per pound. 'Large' are about 32-34 per pound. There are other grades too; but for the average cook Jumbo, Large, and Cocktail are mostly what you'll use and encounter.
Let's hope the sun's out tomorrow and we can serve up some grilled prawns!😄