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Butter-Poached Spot Prawns with Israeli Couscous

Seattle chef Maria Hines poaches spot prawns -- a Northwestern delicacy -- slowly in butter to accentuate their tenderness and sweetness.

  • servings: 4

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Ingredients

  • 12 spot prawns, roe intact
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 3 cups bite-size cauliflower florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallots
  • Juice of 1/2 small lemon
  • 3 sprigs, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Chopped mint leaves, for garnish
  • Charmoula, for serving

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Carefully peel prawns (the barbs on the tail are sharp) and reserve roe; discard shells or reserve for making seafood stock. Set prawns and roe aside.

  2. Step 2

    Bring large pot of water to boil. Generously salt boiling water and return to boil. Add Israeli couscous and cook according to package directions; drain and transfer to large bowl. Set aside.

  3. Step 3

    Bring another large pot of water to boil. Generously salt boiling water and return to boil. Add cauliflower florets and cook until tender but still crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking liquid. Place half of the cauliflower florets in the jar of a blender. With the motor running, slowly add 1 cup cooking liquid. Blend until cauliflower is pureed and the consistency of thick gravy.

  4. Step 4

    Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallot and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring, until edges begin to brown and caramelize, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Transfer cauliflower to bowl with Israeli couscous and stir in chopped parsley and chives; set aside.

  5. Step 5

    Place parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth; tie with a piece of kitchen twine to enclose. Place in a medium saucepan along with heavy cream. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat for 20 minutes; remove cheesecloth packet and discard. Add butter and whisk until melted and well combined; season with salt and pepper. Add reserved prawn roe and stir to combine.

  6. Step 6

    Reduce heat to medium-low and add prawns. Cook just until flesh turns pink, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

  7. Step 7

    To serve, spoon cauliflower puree in the center of each of four plates. Spoon couscous mixture on top of puree; top each with three prawns. Spoon some of the poaching liquid over prawns and garnish with cilantro, parsley, mint leaves, and chives. Spoon charmoula around cauliflower puree; serve immediately.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, February 2010

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Reviews (6)

  • 4 May, 2010

    Do you know where I can purchase these prawns in NYC

  • 1 May, 2010

    Simply awesome!
    Thanks Martha for introducing us these chefs.

  • 1 Mar, 2010

    This was awesome! Now for those of us in the suburbs w/out fancy super grocery stores (even though I do have Wegmans) just use Really large Shrimp and you won't even notice the lack of roe.And you probably won't find Harissa so use an asian red chili garlic sauce. They do reference sambal olek. Key tip try to make the herb sauce early in the day and I would precook the cauliflower and couscous. Then combine the dish and put in the oven for about 5 minutes to get really hot!!!

  • 1 Mar, 2010

    This was awesome! Now for those of us in the suburbs w/out fancy super grocery stores (even though I do have Wegmans) just use Really large Shrimp and you won't even notice the lack of roe.And you probably won't find Harissa so use an asian red chili garlic sauce. They do reference sambal olek. Key tip try to make the herb sauce early in the day and I would precook the cauliflower and couscous. Then combine the dish and put in the oven for about 5 minutes to get really hot!!!

  • 28 Feb, 2010

    You can substitute wild gulf prawns but they won't be the same. You could also try the recipe with lobster and use some of the lobster roe. The special taste of Spots is unique. They taste more like King Crab and Lobster than shrimp, sweet and delicate. Sylvia

  • 26 Feb, 2010

    Does anyone have a substitute for the spot prawns? I doubt I'll find them here on the East Coast.