Friday, 16 December 2011

Marinated giant tiger prawns in pasta de achiote on a bed of baby-leaf salad with tomato salsa

"Pasta de achiote is a paste made with achiote, garlic, vinegar, bitter orange juice, and spices. I got my paste from my parents who visited Mexico in November this year. Its unusual taste and colour (strong red) make this dish a real feast! You can find it in most Asian/Oriental food stores, but you can also make it at home (the recipe follows soon). Bitter oranges are to be found in the organic food stores, but you can substitute them by using regular oranges mixed 1:1 with white wine vinegar. It is a perfect starter for a Christmas Eve dinner (specially for Polish Christmas-Eve-fish-eaters). I like it served on a bed of a baby leaf salad with tomato salsa. I promise that my next pasta de achiote recipe will include home-made version of this paste :)".  

Serves 4
500g Giant tiger prawns  (or 4-5 prawns per person) (uncooked, raw or frozen defrosted before cooking)
1 tablespoon pasta de Achiote
3 tablespoons bitter orange juice (or regular orange juice mixed with white wine vinegar 1:1)

For the tomato salsa
2 large tomatoes, in cubes, seeded
a handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 handfuls baby leaves (rocket, red chard, lamb's lettuce etc.)
1 tablespoon oil

Remove the shells, heads, and legs from the prawns as well as the intestinal vein (black vein) that runs across the back of the prawns. Dilute the pasta de achiote in vinegar or bitter orange juice, and add a pinch of salt. Add prawns to this paste and allow to marinate for ~1 hour in a room temperature. 
To prepare the salsa mix the chopped tomatoes, coriander and onion. Add lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat the oil and fry the prawns for 2-3 minutes until pink and tender.
Place a handful of baby leaves in the middle of a plate, arrange prawns around, and garnish with salsa.