"This is the kind of meal that's ideal for those sunny evenings when you just want to cook something quick but delicious, grab a glass of chilled wine and enjoy eating in the garden with company. I've dressed the prawns and beans in salsa verde, but basil oil, another of my quick go-to ingredients, would also be fantastic. To give the prawns the best, juiciest, charred ?avour, I always cook them quickly in a smoking-hot pan. So if you are outside, throwing them on the barbeque would be nice too." - Jessica Elliott Dennison.
1 Tbs olive oil
325 g unpeeled raw Tiger prawns
150 g wild rocket (arugula)
1 large fennel bulb (ideally with a few fronds still intact)
400 g tin cannellini beans in water, rinsed and drained
1 serving salsa verde (page 27)
4 slices sourdough bread
King prawns, calamari, crayfish in shells or scallops in shells.
Butter beans, chickpeas or green lentils.
Watercress, lamb's lettuce or frisée.
If you want to devein the prawns, cut along the back with a sharp pair of scissors then lift out and discard the black vein with the tip of a knife.
First, heat a large frying pan over a high heat for 2–3 minutes until smoking. Rub the oil over the prawns and cook for 4–5 minutes in a single layer until pink and gaining a nice charred colour. (Turn the prawns halfway through cooking and cook in two batches if they don’t all fit in your pan in a single layer). Set aside on a plate.
Next, wash the rocket in a basin of cold water, pat dry then set aside. Slice the fennel lengthwise as thinly as you can (discard the core and reserve any leafy fronds). A mandolin is handy for achieving really thin slices.
Scatter the rocket, beans and fennel over a large platter, spoon over 2 1/2 tablespoons of salsa verde then gently, using your hands, toss to lightly coat. Scatter over the prawns and reserved fennel fronds then place the remaining salsa verde in a nice dish for people to help themselves to.
Take the bread, lots of napkins and some side plates for peeling the prawns at the table.
Credits: This is an edited extract from Salad Feasts by Jessica Elliott Dennison published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $29.99 and is available in stores nationally.
Photo Credits: Matt Russell.