Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tian Of Prawns, Tomato, Fennel And Cucumber With Shellfish Sauce - Christmas Lunch 2011 Part 2

I decided seafood would be more appropriate for our antipodean Christmas lunch instead of the traditional ham and turkey affair, after all we are right in the middle of a very hot summer.

The original recipe asked for crab meat but to avoid spending hours on the fiddly task of crab meat picking, prawns became the substitute and a very good one I must say. This is a very simple and straightforward recipe; most of the chopping and dicing can be done beforehand as it is with the shellfish sauce, all you need to do is to assemble the dish when you are ready to serve.

The mercury had climbed up to 30 C (with 90% humidity) by the time entree was served and we all agreed this light and refreshing dish was a very good choice indeed.

recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller January 2008 
serves 4
you'll need;
20 whole prawns, poached and shelled, reserved heads and shells for the stock
4 tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1cm dice
1 baby fennel, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 telegraph cucumber, seeds removed and cut into 1cm dice
2 tbs of finely chopped chives
2 tbs of olive oil
1 tbs of red wine vinegar
1 avocado, halved, stoned removed and sliced widthwise into 5mm slices
fennel fronds, coriander sprigs and chives to serve

for the shellfish stock;
reserved prawn heads and shells
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of white wine
2 tbs of Brandy
3/4 up of stock
1 tbs of tomato paste

for the shellfish sauce;
150 ml of thicken cream
1 tbs of white wine vinegar
1 tsp of Dijon mustard
pinch of sweet paprika
2 tsp each of finely chopped tarragon and flat leaf parsley

Prepare the vegetables and chill until needed.

Poach whole prawns for 3 to 5 minutes. When they are cool enough to handle remove heads and shells. Slice prawns lengthwise.

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat, add reserved prawn shells and cook for 5 minutes to release the oil and tomalley from the shells. 

Deglaze pan with wine, Brandy and stock, season to taste with sea salt. Add tomato paste, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing shells to extract all liquid, into a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes until reduced to 1/3 cup. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool.

For the shellfish sauce - combine cream, vinegar, mustard and paprika in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the shellfish stock, add herbs, stir to combine and chill until needed.

To assemble - Combine tomato, fennel, cucumber and chives in a bowl, drizzle with oil and vinegar to taste. Lightly season prawns and avocado. Place a 8cm-diameter, 6cm-high ring in the centre of a plate, arrange 1/4 of the avocado in ring, top with 1/8 of the tomato mix, then 1/4 of the prawns, press down gently, then finish with 1/8 of tomato mix. Press down gently and carefully remove ring. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients. 

Drizzle plates with shellfish sauce and serve tians scattered with mixed herbs. We served a beautiful NZ Pinot Gris accompany this refreshing dish.

Top view of the dish.


  1. Wow this looks like a restaurant dish. Very fresh and summery!

  2. But no turkey or ham? How do you fall asleep in front of the tv groaning from over-eating with this?

    (It looks really lovely!)

  3. Good choice for the hot weather indeed! Love the presentation very much!

  4. Hehe this sounds and looks fancy :) Looking forward to the rest of your meal.


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