Monday, October 14, 2013

Steamy New Orleans Prawns

You will have to be enthralled by my brilliant narrative because, once again, I forgot to take pictures. I was so caught up in the process and then even more focused on eating the result, that the plate was empty before I remembered I should have had a camera out.

In a "celebration" of past Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we'd like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try! I chose a challenge from July 2012 - Cooking "En Papillote" from Sarah of All Our Fingers in the Pie. The challenge was to cook in parchment and learn a new process.

I've missed most of the challenges lately, due to some health issues, but I really enjoyed this one. We regularly have Cajun prawns I prepare in a cast-iron skillet on the cooktop, so the flavors were similar but the process was new. The prawns marinated for 30 minutes in a spicy blend of Worcestershire, lemon, melted butter, rosemary, thyme, red pepper, black pepper, Tabasco, and garlic. I, of course, upped the pepper and Tabasco because we like it hot.

After marinating, the prawns and marinade are enclosed in parchment, which is supposed to be pleated to close. I was not adept at this at all and the liquid was soaking the parchment and leaking out. When the pleats failed, I resorted to stapling the parchment closed. Not pretty - but effective.

The prawns cooked for 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven. It was disconcerting not to be able to assess the process to decide if the prawns needed less time, but there is really no way to do that. The parchment is full of steam and if you breach the wrap somehow, you also destroy the cooking vehicle. I probably would shorten the cooking time a bit - maybe 5 minutes - if I did this again.

The outcome, however, was quite tasty and spicy. I let the prawns rest for a few minutes to release the steam and then opened the packages and plated the prawns and marinade. We had a celery, date, almond salad with a lemony dressing and shaved Parmesan cheese. The cooler celery was a nice offset to the spicy prawns.

I'm looking forward to the next challenge, which I guarantee will have photos!

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