Prawns with Nasturtium Leaves and Finger Lime

Ingredients (17)

For the tomato paste:

  • 11 pounds heirloom tomatoes
  • 5 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

For the prawns:

  • 4 sashimi-grade prawns, with heads intact
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon anchovy-based fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chives, chopped
  • grated lime zest and juice, to taste

For the nasturtium leaves:

  • 4 large nasturtium leaves, each at least 10-15 cm wide
  • salt, to taste

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • chopped parsley to taste

For the finger lime:

  • 1 finger lime, with red flesh squeezed out
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Nutritional Information
  • Calories497
  • Fat26.46g
  • Saturated fat3.68g
  • Trans fat0.0g
  • Carbs65.96g
  • Fiber18.32g
  • Sugar39.19g
  • Protein13.17g
  • Cholesterol7.56mg
  • Sodium3228.7mg
  • Nutritional Analysis per serving (4 servings) Powered by

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Prawns with Nasturtium Leaves and Finger Lime

This is undoubtedly fancy food. You’ll have to source a few uncommon ingredients and spend a little extra time on prep, but it’s all worth it if you want to really impress someone, or just treat yourself to a beautiful, restaurant-quality plate of Prawns with Nasturtium Leaves and Finger Lime at home. From chef Dan Hunter’s new Brae cookbook, this refined recipe calls for sashimi-grade, head-on prawns, the leaves of the edible nasturtium flower, and a finger lime, a miniature citrus fruit with flesh like tangy pearls of caviar you can squeeze right from the rind. The sweet prawn meat joins rich homemade tomato paste, shallots, and chives, and is wrapped up in parcels of peppery nasturtium leaves, which are topped with the finger lime flesh and joined on the plate by luscious barbecued prawn heads basted in a garlic vinaigrette.

If you can’t find the finger lime, a spritz of regular lime juice atop the parcels will achieve a similar flavor, if not the same stunning visual effect. Since you’ll be eating the nasturtium leaves, make sure you get them from a source that is guaranteed pesticide-free and safe for consumption.

For some less intensive ways to prepare prawns, get our Burmese Prawn Curry recipe, or our Pickled Prawns recipe.

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For the tomato paste:
  1. 1Juice the tomatoes and remove any seeds. Transfer the tomato juice to a saucepan and slowly cook down to about 3 cups, until a rich paste is achieved. Season with the tamarind paste and salt and refrigerate until needed. This makes more tomato paste than you will need for this recipe; you can store the remainder in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or freeze it.

For the prawns:

  1. 1Remove the heads and shells from the prawns and devein the meat. Set the heads aside on paper towels, taking care not to break the legs or antennae, as these will be grilled later.
  2. 2Halve each prawn lengthwise and cut the meat into an even, small dice. You will need 5 tablespoons of prawn meat total.
  3. 3Blanch the shallots in boiling water for around 10 seconds. Strain, and when cool, add to the prawn meat, along with the 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, a pinch of sea salt, the fish sauce, and chives. Check the seasoning and add grated lime zest and juice to balance the seasoning if necessary. Reserve this mixture, refrigerated, until ready to serve.

For the nasturtium leaves:

  1. 1Prepare an ice water bath in a bowl.
  2. 2Blanch the nasturtium leaves in salted water for approximately 5 seconds, so they are just wilted. Refresh the leaves in ice water and lay them out to dry on paper towels.

For the vinaigrette:

  1. 1Chop the garlic super-finely, then combine it with the olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Add the parsley only just before serving, or the acid in the vinegar will oxidize it and turn it an off-green to brown color.

To finish:

  1. 1Prepare a charcoal grill.
  2. 2Fill each of the nasturtium leaves with 1 tablespoon of the prawn mixture, folding each leaf neatly into a parcel, and leaving the stem still attached to the leaf on the outside. Place a little of the finger lime flesh on top of each parcel, then arrange them on a plate, leaving even spaces between the parcels and the rest of the plate.
  3. 3Dress the prawn heads in the vinaigrette and grill them quickly over the hot charcoal, basting with more vinaigrette as they cook. Cook them to medium-rare so that the juices inside do not coagulate but are slightly cooked and do not taste raw. Season the prawn heads with salt to taste and place them between the parcels on the plate.
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