As I write, the cicadas shoot out a constant stream of high pitched whirring notes and a frog hops onto a round white rock and slips, composing himself again before croaking out some half-hearted burps (sweet sounding burps which are really quite endearing)…
Starwalker has come to visit and seats himself down on the grass next to me by the pond, wearing his Ninja beads (if there ever was such a thing!)…. and drinking, well, what else but a glass of wine.
We’re commenting on the colour of the sky… ‘golden’… ‘no, orange’… ‘no, apricot… ‘well, how about apricot and cream?’. Whatever, the case, the last of the warm light is now lining the horizon, hugged between the sea and the ‘moody blue’ squid-ink clouds.
I’m handing my laptop over to him now because, quite honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted prawns as good as the ones he cooked today (this afternoon was dedicated to slow cooking: I prepared bread and a dessert while Starwalker made prawns and potato wedge chips). Starwalker reckons the difference between this prawn dish and the others he’s cooked is that he used prawn stock for the first time.
It wasn’t a pretty sight, watching those guillotined heads (with dead polka dot eyes) bubbling away in a rich pink broth in that pot on the stove. But if you’re into tasting things for what they are, perhaps it’s worth reading Starwalker’s approach to cooking prawns using prawn stock.
Over to Starwalker:
Tonight’s strategy involved removing the head and then butterflying the body, allowing maximum surface area. The heads were thrown in a heavy based saucepan with some Haute Cabrier and water. I allowed the sauce to slowly froth up, with all the brains and Roe and eye balls and whatever because recently I have learned a most valuable lesson: ‘First and foremost it must taste of what it is!’
And stock is the reduction of the essence of the creature.
I strained this forth and removed the heads before reducing it further. I then added this concentrated stock to some sautéed garlic and onions (with a touch of hot chilli), turned up the heat and threw the prawns in, cooking them to slow perfection in the reducing liquid, which penetrated the flesh of the prawns with radiant flavour.
This allowed for an ecology of flavours, all evolving organically and feeding upon each other. The cream entered at the end and a few swipes of the spoon turned the dish into a beautiful thing of soft, graceful, sassy flavour.
We ate Starwalker’s dish with the bread that had proved under the hot afternoon sun earlier in the day. Conversation came to an end as we dipped the bread into the sauce and tasted the symphony at play (corny yes, but really, it felt like one!)… all we could do was uhmmm and ahhhhhh.
PS. Starwalker also added lemon to the dish