As promised, no wall of text this time~ This is a real quick-fix recipe and – if you like prawns of course – fits into every role/course you need it to be in. Well, maybe it doesn’t work as a dessert…
It’s a somewhat „guilty pleasure“ I make for myself, whenever I’m not at risk of recieving withering stares for the pan-fried seafood smell in the kitchen.
A while back I was asked to prepare something for a birthday party buffet. Salads, sweets, meats, all were already taken care of, which at first made me wonder why I was standing there in my kitchen, scratching my head in the first place. When I looked around anyways, I spotted the tightly packed bag of prawn shells from dinner the night before, and immediately thought of this dish. Initially it started out as a starter or snack I reverse-engineered out of a lobster amuse bouche I was served several years back. I’m pretty sure the chef back then used white wine and coriander for the melon puree, but I couldn’t get the balance right with those two, so I replaced them with white balsamic vinegar and tarragon. So here are my melon prawns:
For 2 Servings (as a starter) you’ll need:
10 Cleaned and shelled Black Tiger or King Prawns
½ Lemon, juice and zest
1 clove of Garlic, finely chopped
freshly cracked Black Pepper
¼ small Habanero or ½ Bird’s Eye chilli,finely chopped
½ Cantelope Melon
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1-2 Tsp White Balsamic Vinegar (depends on the ripeness of the melon – taste)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Tarragon Leaves, chopped
Opt: Honey to taste and/or take the edge off the mustard
1) Check your prawns. Even if you bought them cleaned and ready-to-use, sometimes bits of the shell or the intestines can still cling to them. Biting down on either is something I prefer to avoid. Pat them dry once you’re satisfied.
2) Mix the lemon zest with the olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli. Spread out the prawns on a plate and drizzle them with this marinade. Set them aside, covered with clingfilm, until you’re ready to fry and serve them. I usually prep a couple of hours before serving, the longer the prawns take their bath, the better. Drizzle over the lemon juice about 15 mins before you’re ready to fry them.
3) Deseed the melon and hollow it out with a spoon – if you’re planning to serve the prawns inside the melon, make sure to leave enough pulp in the skin for it to keep its shape
4) Roughly chop the pulp you took out of the melon and move it into a blender.
5) Blend the cubes with the mustard and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Have a taste and adjust the vinegar content if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, blitz again and have another taste. If you want to spice it up you could add a few drops of tabasco, keep in mind there’s chilli on the prawns though.
6) Once you’re close to serving time, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a eavy based pan. Fry the prawns all around for about 3 minutes on medium heat – the time really depends on the size of the prawns. Once they’re cooked on the outside but still a bit glassy in the middle, they’re ready.
7) Finely chop the tarragon. Fold ½ of it into the puree.
8) Pour the dip into the hollowed out melon half – cut off a slice of the bottom to make it stand safely before filling it – and sprinkle the other ½ of the tarragon on top of the dip.
I hope you enjoy this one!