Velveted prawns with sweetcorn soup


  • Serves 4 people

  • 800 gm uncooked king prawns, peeled, shells reserved, meat coarsely chopped
  • 35 gm (¼ cup) cornflour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 corn cobs, kernels removed
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp chilli oil
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) basil
  • 2 kipfler potatoes (about 120gm each), cut into to 1cm dice
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally to serve
  • Prawn stock
  • 2 each onions, celery stalks and carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 5 flat-leaf parsley stalks
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • Finely grated rind of 1 orange
01   For prawn stock, process vegetables and garlic in a food processor to form a paste. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add paste, stir occasionally until golden (10-12 minutes). Add prawn shells, crush with a wooden spoon and stir occasionally until coloured (5-7 minutes). Add herbs, peppercorns, orange rind and 2 litres cold water and bring to the boil. Skim surface (discard scum), reduce heat to low, simmer until well flavoured (40-50 minutes), strain through a muslin-lined sieve to yield 1.2 litres (discard solids) and refrigerate until required.
02   Combine prawns, cornflour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and massage mixture into prawns (2-3 minutes). Transfer to a sieve, rinse under cold water and massage prawns again to remove cornflour mixture. Drain well and refrigerate until required.
03   Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion, stir occasionally until golden (5-7 minutes). Add cumin, sauté until fragrant (30 seconds-1 minute), add two-thirds of the corn, sauté until opaque (5-7 minutes). Deglaze with white wine, add stock, bring to the boil over medium heat, add garlic and chilli oil. Reduce heat to low, simmer until well flavoured and corn is tender (30-35 minutes). Add basil, strain through a fine sieve into a bowl over ice (reserve liquid). Purée solids with enough reserved liquid (about 1 litre) to form a smooth soup, transfer to a saucepan, add potato, saffron and remaining corn. Simmer over medium-high heat until potato is tender (7-10 minutes). Add prawns, stir until barely cooked through (1-2 minutes), season to taste. Serve hot scattered with spring onion and drizzled with olive oil.
This recipe is from the March 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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