linguine with prawns & garlic in a prawn oil

Sometimes we may cook from a recipe which calls for prawns but have no use for the shells. In our household those scraps never go to waste – B often uses them to create a prawn bisque, simmering the shells gently to coax out all the lovely shellfish flavours. Another thing he likes to do is make an intense prawn oil which is wonderful drizzled over soups, risotto or a warm salad of freshly grilled seafood. Last weekend he brought home some magnificent king prawns from the Kensington Fish Shop, stripped the shells to make a prawn oil, then simply pan-fried the prawns with garlic, and tossed it all together with some linguine. The fragrant oil really accentuated the sweetness of the meaty prawns and the caramelised garlic added a slight crunch and a warm nuttiness. If you follow the below quantities you’ll be left with a good cup of extra prawn oil which can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

Linguine with Prawns and Garlic in a Prawn Oil
serves 4

16 large prawns, deshelled and deveined (reserve the shells)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
500ml rapeseed oil
1 bay leaf

2 tbsp olive oil
450g linguine
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
freshly ground black pepper

First, make the prawn oil. Into a large heavy-based pan, add 2 tbsp of the rapeseed oil and sauté the carrot, onion and celery until soft. Add the tomato paste, bay leaf and then the prawn shells and cook for a further 5-6 minutes. Be sure to bash up the shells, especially the heads, with a wooden spoon to extract the flavour.

Pour in the remaining rapeseed oil and leave on high heat for 3-4 minutes than lower to a bare simmer and cook for at least 90 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, strain into a container and discard the solids.

Sauté the prawns and garlic in the olive oil on a high heat for 5-6 minutes or until the prawns are cooked through, taking care not to burn the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile cook the linguine according to packet instructions, until al dente, then drain.

Assemble by adding 3-4 tbsp of the prawn oil per person to the pasta and then tossing through the prawns and garlic. Season to taste again before serving.

Prawn on Foodista

~ by gourmettraveller on February 2, 2010.

10 Responses to “linguine with prawns & garlic in a prawn oil”

  1. That prawn oil sounds amazing – 90 minutes of flavour extraction! Wow. Going to have to remember that one the next time I need peeled prawns…

    • The aroma it gives off while cooking is also heavenly – the smell always transports me to a Singaporean prawn noodle soup hawker stall!

  2. Found your site off of photograzing (and so glad that I did!) This looks so tasty! I have to make this sometime…

  3. Oh my god. I love how that prawns look!! Its simply good!

  4. How absolutely wonderful your recipes are! I miss my days in Australasia and I love recipes that are infused with concepts from around the world.

    Your blog is a delight!

    • Thanks for the sweet comments, popped by your blog – I see like me you’ve lived in both Australia and Singapore :)

  5. hmm.. even though you say the prawn scraps never go to waste, i can’t help but feel that the carrot, onion and celery are being wasted here, because those lovely vegetables are cooked like that and discarded after, when they can be eaten whole in another dish.

    I have tried making a similar dish: but instead my prawn oil is made by melting butter in olive oil until it is slightly brown, tossing the prawn heads and shells in, and like you, crushing them a bit to encourage the oil to redden. After discarding the prawn shells, I fry some chopped garlic in them and then add the prawns, king scallops and squid rings in, all fresh, before tossing the pasta in.

    The fragrance of the prawn shells is heady and decadent with the help of the butter, and well, some vegetables would be saved for a more wholesome occasion!

    • we tend to buy bags of vegetables so always have a few stray carrots, celery stalks, onions lying about, and they do add an extra dimension and sweetness to the prawn oil (in the same way that adding vegtables does to stock). it’s good to know an alternate method for when our larder may be empty though!

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