Saturday, May 24, 2008

Grilled(!) Spot Prawn Feast (with chicken and trout)

'Tis the season for spot prawns!

We got some spot prawns for the weekend and set about doing them on the grill. We usually steam prawns, but I figure we'd give the grill a try.

Please bear with the pictures. They are quite awful. I really have no photography skills and I'm too lazy to bother to learn.

4:30 on a Sunday and we decided to invite our cousins over to Sunday dinner. We had a chicken waiting in the fridge, some spot prawns, and two fillets of steelhead trout. I figure we'd do something really simple, like roast the chicken, grill the prawns, and grill the trout.

Since it was a warm day, I didn't want to heat up the house by turning the stove or the oven on. I thought I could do everything on the grill, provided I time everything right.

The chicken was simply seasoned with salt and pepper, squirted with lemon juice, and stuffed with some thyme and oregano from the garden. I thought better of putting the chicken on the grill directly, so I used a disposable roasting pan and tried my best to cram everything inside our small grill.

At first, I put the prawns directly on the grill. After putting about half of them on the grill, I started to question the wisdom of it.

What would happen if there was a flare-up?

I would have to pull those prawns out one by one. That didn't seem wise to me so I started putting the prawns in disposable roasting pans, with a little bit of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

Those very dark balls were radicchio. I just put them on the grill as well whole. I figured I was going to remove the outer leaves anyways.

After they've cooked through, I turned down the flames and put them one by one on the grill so they'll just have a little bit of the char. Because, you know, those charred shells just smell so awesome and they are delicious with the sweet flesh of the prawns. Next time, I'll probably get one of those grill baskets and see how well they work.

I also want to get a bigger grill, by the way, because this one has become too small for our needs. There was no time to put the trout on the grill so I just quickly roasted them in the oven with dill, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

The trout looks a little bit pale -- and pardon that I did not put it on a nice presentation platter, because that's more plates to wash -- but I must say it was perfectly cooked. It was moist and juicy. I liked the acidity of the lemons with the fish.

The chicken was just a smidgen overcooked (about 5 minutes past the optimal cook-time) but even the breast sections were still juicy. In our house, it's common practice to get the chicken a tad overcooked, since other family members are squeamish about seeing any red near the bones. I had a small portion of breast and the flavours were spot-on. I really love roast chicken and simply done like this one is always my favourite. The chicken doesn't look too pretty, but I favour substance over style anytime.

For the grilled prawns, I loved them!

I love the smell, I love the flavours. In fact, grilling the prawns is now my favourite way to have them. There's just something about the flame that accentuates the sweetness of the prawns. The flavours just seem more multi-dimensional to me, compared with simply steaming the prawns. Several of our family members have also professed to liking the prawns better grilled instead of steamed, so next time we have a spot prawn feast, we'll be cooking them up both ways.

I'll be looking for more spot prawn goodness in the coming weeks. The season is almost over so better get the prawns while they're still here.

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