I haven't deep-fried anything in ages, so I thought topping a big meal-in-a-bowl salad with marinated fried prawns would be a good Friday night treat. And it was.
There are a couple of new-to-me features about this salad - one ingredient and one technique. The ingredient is this avocado oil flavoured with chipotle, which mexgrocer.co.uk recently sent me to try. It has a lovely buttery flavour with a good chipotle warm smokiness. Apparently you can cook with it, but so far I have just used it in salad dressings. And the technique is this - you marinate the prawns in lemon and bicarbonate of soda before dredging in flour and frying. It works extremely well although I am not entirely sure why...
This takes a couple of minutes preparation an hour before you want to eat, and then there is a 5 minute flurry of activity just before serving. Nothing too challenging.
Fried prawn salad (makes 2 Friday-night-treat sized meals)
250g prawns, peeled
juice of half a lemon
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tbs gambas pil pil seasoning (a mixture of smoked paprika, garlic flakes, chilli and parsley that friends bring us from Spain - it's lovely, but any of your favourite seasonings will do!)
1 egg yolk (you could use a whole egg of course but I wanted the white for making a batch of spiced nuts)
cornflour for dredging
oil for deep frying
Half a small red onion/1 large shallot
juice of the other half of the lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1tbs chipotle-infused oil (or olive oil and a knife-tip of chipotle paste)
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large ripe avocado, diced
2 little gem lettuces, shredded
1 handful coriander leaves
Mix the prawns with the lemon, bicarb (it fizzes, which is pretty funny), seasoning and the egg yolk, cover and refrigerate for an hour.
Dice the onion or shallot and combine with the rest of the lemon juice and salt in a salad bowl for an hour to soften.
After an hour, mix the mayonnaise with the oniony lemon juice to a smooth emulsion, then gradually mix in the chipotle oil. Add the tomatoes, lettuce, avocado and coriander leaves and toss well.
Dredge the prawns in cornflour and deep fry in batches - should only take about a minute per batch - and drain well on kitchen paper.
Divide the salad between two deep bowls and top with the crunchy prawns. If you happen to have an extra half lemon lying about, a squeeze of extra lemon on top is a good thing. Eat immediately.
I am sending this to Deb for Souper (soup, salad and sammies) Sunday - I usually forget that salads are a part of this event!