Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Don't Make this Recipe

"I love the smell of shrimp shells in the morning."

I mean it. Do not make this recipe unless you are willing to follow my instructions EXACTLY.
It's not as if I'll be asking you to prepare puff pastry from scratch or shuck a bushel of oysters or bone a grouse -- instead I submit for your consideration an extremely easy appetizer that will bring you raves -- raves, I tell you -- if you will do EXACTLY WHAT I SAY. OK, I'll stop yelling now. But this is one of my most cherished recipes and it breaks my heart to see it screwed up -- and I've seen it screwed up twice in the last few weeks. So, do what I say and do what I do and you'll have an outstanding addition to your recipe repertoire.

I learned how to make this from Charlotte Combe, an excellent teacher at the late lamented Jack Lirio Cooking School in San Francisco,

Charlotte Combe's Marvelous Marinated Prawns

1/4 cup good mustard
1/2 cup wine vinegar
1/2 cup truly excellent olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped shallots
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Bring a large, well-salted pot of water to a boil and drop in 2 lbs. prawns, still in the shell. When they turn pink, they're probably done. Do not overcook them; a tiny bit underdone is far preferable to even a little overdone.
Drain and, as soon as they're cool enough to handle, peel the prawns and then mix them with the marinade.
Refrigerate overnight. Drain very well before serving.

Sounds simple, right? Well it is. But people like to take shortcuts and said shortcuts will ruin this dish. Here are the shortcuts you MAY NOT TAKE:
*No pre-cooked prawns
*No semi-peeled raw prawns
*No cheap-o olive oil
*No dried parsley flakes
*No omitting the red pepper flakes
*No trying to get away with a less-than-overnight marinade
*NO FORGETTING TO DRAIN THE PRAWNS REALLY WELL BEFORE SERVING. They should not be sitting in a pool of marinade at serving time.

You are permitted one substitution: scallions sliced thin for the shallots. The rest of the instructions are to be considered commandments -- carved on stone tablets, broken only at the risk of infuriating the gods of gastronomy
And me.


mamele said...

i do not traffic in treyf. so i leave your dominatrix recipe-following-whip-cracking to others to enjoy.

but can i have that kitty? so cute!

lmc said...

kitty kitty kitty, hello!

rowena said...

When I saw this in my newsfeed, the first thing I did was to have a good chuckle over the kitty image! Cute!

This sounds like such an easy dish, why do people go and screw it up? I mean, it's not like you could save that much time/effort by cutting corners!

Rob said...

I didn't have potatoes, so I substituted rice.

I didn't have paprika, so I used another spice.

I didn't have tomato sauce, I used tomato paste;

A whole can, not a half can - I don't believe in waste.

A friend gave me the recipe; she said you couldn't beat it.

There must be something wrong with her, I couldn't even eat it!

Anonymous said...

I would like to vouch for Casey's admonition to not make this recipe if you change ANYTHING. I have made it twice and the second time I did not marinate as long as she said. It wasn't the same. Now, I don't eat these horrid little sea insects, but all my family and friends do, and believe me...the reaction wasn't the same the second time. It was more like Oh...THESE are good. Not the adulation of the first time, and she gave me the same lecture she is giving listen up.

Catie said...

Casey, I love your kitty. I have two of his cousins (tuxedos), Crosby and Nash.

I also love your blog and will link it to my own under food blogs. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

woodworking projects , ted woodworking