It seems like every day somebody asks me “How do you make prawn stock, Conor?” or “I was thinking of making some prawn stock, how would you do it?” Given that I am a pretty average type of guy, I know that you too must be harassed on a regular basis with prawn stock conundrums. So I am going to tell you how to do it.
First, you need a decent quantity of big fresh Dublin Bay Prawns. I have mentioned these previously. The last time, I cooked them and we ate them. This time, we need the prawns for their heads and shells only. While I bought the prawns from my favourite fishmonger in the world, Lisa at George’s Fish Shop she gave me a bag of additional heads and claws and bits and pieces.
Side note of honesty: Lisa has been a little irked that I don’t give her enough blog credit for the excellent fish that I get from her. The above mention should get me out of trouble, don’t you think?
For this recipe you will need the following:
- Nice fresh prawns
- A bag of prawn bits
- Bay leaf
- Black peppercorns
- The patience of Jobe for shelling the prawns
FIrst, pull the heads off the prawns and then put the bodies in the freezer for 30 minutes. This makes it much easier to get the meat out of the shells. To do this, squeeze the shell on the open end until the shell cracks or your finger bursts and you start to bleed. Bandage up the fingers and get the rest of them done.
When you are finished, you should have a pile of prawn meat. This has no place in the stock recipe so discard this and place the shells, heads, legs, claws and other bits into a pot and fry them in batches, in some butter and oil until they change colour somewhat.
Next, add them to a big stock pot and cover them with water, adding the peppercorns and bay leaves. Simmer (don’t boil) this for a couple of hours, removing any scum that rises to the surface.
Strain it all through kitchen paper in a sieve to leave an intensely prawn flavoured stock. I got four and a half pints from my endeavours. This will make an excellent basis for a bisque or for making a seafood risotto.
You didn’t throw out the prawn meat, did you? I was joking! Here’s a recipe to use up those beautiful prawns.
You will need:
- 16 big fresh prawns (Fish them out of the bin, if you threw them out.)
- Beautiful top quality olive oil
- Three cloves of garlic
- Thai fragrant rice for two people
Here’s what to do:
Warm the olive oil in a wok until medium hot, not smoking. Add the garlic.
When the beautiful garlic aroma is rising out of the wok, add the prawns and stir fry them until they are nearly done.
The fresher they are, the less cooking you need to give them. I took them off just after they had changed colour.
Add them to the rice in a bowl and pour the garlic olive oil over. Add a small bit of parsley and serve.
Enjoy this while you either think of the beautiful seafood dishes you will prepare with the stock or while you chastise yourself for throwing those prawns in the bin!