Pan fried Tiger prawns on a bed of crab linguine with roasted Jack Hawkins tomato, garlic and red Romano pepper sauce.
I came up with this recipe after watching a lot of Mediterranean cookery shows recently. My aim was to come up with a tomato based pasta sauce which had a different taste to my usual pasta sauce. I didn’t copy any particular recipe more like used techniques I saw in a variety of these shows showcasing local chefs making traditional local dishes.
I bought some nice large Jack Hawkins tomatoes and thought they would make an excellent base for the sauce. I decided to roast one along with some round tomatoes, garlic in its skin and a deseeded Romano red pepper – this is the base for the sauce and roasting them before cooking brings out their rich deep flavours. Once roasted and cooled I removed the skins from all three, as well as the core of the tomatoes, then blend them into a smooth sauce.
With the second Jack Hawkins tomato I used a blowtorch to blister then remove the skin, then removed the core and diced the tomato. I added the chopped tomato to a bowl along with some finely chopped parsley and basil. The purpose of this is to give both added flavour and texture to the dish.
I had some really nice Indonesian tiger prawns which I pan-fried in their shells with some olive oil until they were just cooked – its so important not to overcook prawns as they just become tough and chewy. I cooked them in the same pan that I then cooked the pasta sauce to get every last bit of flavour.
The sauce itself was made by frying the chopped herb/tomato mixture in a little olive oil along with a splash of white wine followed by the roasted sauce. The pasta was cooked until all dente, drained then finished off in the sauce so that it absorbed the delicate yet deep flavour. Some crab meat was added to the pan so that it was heated through by the steam from the sauce then carefully and gently mixed through the sauce with the back of a wooden spoon so that the chunks of crab meat stayed intact. The Pasta was then spooned into pasta bowls and the cooked prawns carefully placed interlocking on top.
I was really pleased with the results and can confidently say that this was not just restaurant standard but very good restaurant standard. I will be cooking this again for certain.
Serves two people
Preparation 20-25 minutes, cooking time less than 15 minutes
200g dried Linguine – I used De Cecco, cooking times may vary
2 Large Jack Hawkins tomatoes – use beef or other large varieties as alternative
4 cloves garlic – keep skin on
1 romano red pepper – remove seeds and stalk
3-4 round tomatoes
4 large Tiger prawns – devein in shell, keep head on. Trim legs and feelers with scissors
180g tinned white crab meat – drain before use
8-10 basil leafs
1-2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
100ml dry white wine – choose one which works with shellfish
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt – generous pinch plus extra to taste
Black peppercorn mill
1 tsp brown sugar
Method: Start by roasting the red pepper, garlic, 1 jack Hawkins tomato and the round tomatoes in a hot oven (approx. 200°C) for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cooled remove the skins and the tomato core then add to a mini chopper/food processor and blitz until a smooth sauce is formed.
Remove skin from the second Jack Hawkins tomato, I used a blowtorch, however this could also be done by boiling the tomato in water for 3-4 minutes then placing in a bowl of cold water. Dice this tomato and add to a bowl along with the chopped herbs.
Cook the pasta as per packet instructions until all dente in well salted water. In a deep frying pan heat 2-3 tbsp. of olive oil until very hot, add the prawns and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side – the second they turn pink they are ready, don’t keep cooking them as the residual heat from shells will finish them. Set them aside on a plate ready to add to final dish, retain the oil in pan to cook the sauce.
Add the chopped tomato and herbs to the pan and fry over a medium high heat for 1-2 minutes then add the wine. Stir and fry for a further 2 minutes then pour in the roasted sauce, stir well until combined. Add a generous amount of black pepper, 1 tsp brown sugar and a generous pinch of salt then stir well until combined with the sauce. Add the cooked pasta, mix well then taste for seasoning, add extra if required. Carefully add the crab meat to the top of the pasta sauce and let the steam from the pasta heat the crab for 1-2 minutes then use the back of a spoon and gently mix the crab through the pasta, try to keep the crab chunks intact.
Spoon the pasta into pre-heated pasta bowls then place the cooked prawns interlocking on top. Serve immediately and enjoy!
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