Pan fried Tiger Prawns on a bed of Crab Linguine with Roasted tomato, Garlic and Romano Pepper sauce.

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.

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Serves two people

Preparation 20-25 minutes, cooking time less than 15 minutes

 

Ingredients

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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Pan Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup

Pan roasted chillies, tomatoes, peppers and garlic along with the spices give this soup a very special deep flavour.

 The tomatoes, red peppers, orange pepper, red chilli and garlic are roasted in a dry pan until slightly charred to bring out the deep flavours. This is then added to a soup base of celery, carrot, white onion, red onion and bay leaf which has been softened in a little oil. Spices, herbs, seasoning and chicken stock are then added. After a simmer the bay leaf is removed then the soup is blended until smooth.

This may look like a simple soup but it has a depth of flavour that lifts it up to a new level.

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Makes 4 large portions

Preparation time 15-20 minutes, cooking time 40 minutes

Ingredients

Pan roasted vegetables:

1 orange bell pepper – seeds and stalks removed, roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper – seeds and stalk removed, roughly chopped

6 cloves garlic – leave in skin

5 round tomatoes

2 red chillies

Method: Heat a deep wide frying pan and add the vegetables. Dry fry for around 8-10 minutes, tossing the pan occasionally, until the garlic is softened and char marks appear on the chillies, tomatoes and peppers. Remove the garlic and chillies on to a chopping board to cool, then remove the garlic skins (should peel easily) and the chilli stalk, return to pan to add to the soup base.

For soup base

2 sticks celery – sliced

1 white onion – diced

1 red onion – diced

4 medium sized carrots – peel, sliced

2 bay leaf

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground turmeric

Handful fresh coriander (leaf and stalk)

10 basil leafs

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 and half dessert spoons brown sugar

1.5L chicken stock

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp sea salt – plus extra to taste

Black peppercorns – for grinding

Method: Add 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil to a deep soup pan and heat to medium hot. Add the celery, carrot, onions and bay leaf and fry for 6-7 minutes until softened. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander and stir through the softened vegetables. Now add the pan roasted vegetables into the soup and stir through. Add the chicken stock then add the herbs (coriander, parsley and basil), bring pan to the boil for 2-3 minutes then reduce to a simmer. Add one and a half dessert spoons of brown sugar then add a teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Cover the pan, reduce heat to a gentle simmer for 25-30 minutes. Before serving use a stick blender to blend until smooth. After blending taste the soup and add more seasoning if required.

 

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Tomato and Cucumber salad

A simple salad of tomatoes, red onions, romano peppers, herbs, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil

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Ingredients

3 plum tomatoes – sliced

2 small red onions – sliced

10cm cucumber – sliced

1 red romano pepper – diced

10 fresh basil leafs – bruised, chopped

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle of good quality olive oil

Method: layer the tomatoes, red onion, cucumber and romano peppers in a flat serving plate or casserole dish. Season with a little salt and pepper then add the herbs. Finish by drizzling a little olive oil over the salad, this will help bring out the flavours. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving, during this time the flavours will intensify.