May 5, 2012

Bacon-wrapped king prawns on rosemary skewer with lemon-olive oil dip

BaconwrappedprawnsSuper easy idea for a stylish and very tasty appetiser... it doesn't get better than this!
It's so simple, it doesn't really require a recipe as such... the success lies in choosing top quality ingredients. We're lucky here in Singapore, because seafood is easy to come by and especially the shellfish is incredibly fresh and tasty. Try to find a good fishmonger in your area and insist on buying king prawns that have never been frozen. You will be rewarded with prawns that are juicy and succulent and very, very tender.
Next, choose your bacon. This really only works with thinly cut (or, as they like to say here, "shaved"). I have always been an advocate of thinly cut cold meats - I will often be overheard at the deli counter saying that I "want to be able to read my newspaper through it" ;-)
The kind of bacon you want is a raw/dry-cured bacon from the belly which is generously seasoned (here in Singapore I get this at the Swiss butchers in Dempsey, in London I would buy Pancetta from Waitrose or Sainsbury's) - you want a nicely cured piece of raw bacon - don't even think about buying your average breakfast bacon... the slices are so thick that it become impossible to gauge if the prawns are propery cooked and they ooze too much water as well... I have no idea what they put in that and I don't think I want to find out!
Then you need an excellent-quality extra-virgin/cold pressed olive oil. I personally like French because it has the subtlest tast in my opinion, but I am also partial to some Portuguese. Take your own favourite, as long as you don't use a non-descript supermarket brand you should be fine. Mix with the same amount of lemon juice and shake well in an old jam jar to prepare the dip.
Bacon-wrapped king prawns on rosemary skewer with lemon-olive oil dip
  • 12 kind prawns (raw and never frozen, if possible)
  • 12 slices of air-dried raw bacon/pancetta
  • 12 twigs of rosemary
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 knob of butter
The only thing requiring some sort of skill with this recipe is skewering up the prawns.
After cleaning the prawns and removing the shell, head and intestinal sac (best done by pulling it out with a toothpick as shown here. I personally don't like the aspect of prawns cut open along the back), you want to wrap them in one or two pieces of bacon. Use your fingers to bring head and tail together and insert a squewer just above youf fingers, pushing all the way through. Wriggle the skewer gently to make the insertion larger and push the rosemary twig through along the skewer. Pull the skewer out gently.
Mix with the lemon juice with the olive oil and shake well in an old jam jar to prepare the dip.
Now simply heat a saute pan on the stove and melt some butter in it. Place the prawns in the pan and fry for 1 minute on each side. Turn of the gas, place the prawns on some kitchen paper and leave to rest for another minute before arranging on a plate and serving with the dip on the side.