from The Joyful Home Cook (Harper Collins)
Langoustines, nephrops or Dublin Bay prawns are incredibly plentiful in the UK and we should be eating more of them. They make a wonderful canapé or starter for a special meal and are divine simply split and grilled in their shells with this umami seaweed butter. The butter will keep for a week in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Serves 4 as a starter
8 langoustines or jumbo/large tiger prawns, split in half lengthways and digestive tracts removed
handful of wild fennel ﬂowers, to garnish (optional)
For the seaweed butter 20g dried seaweed such as dulse or nori
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
½ tsp fennel seeds
pinch of pink peppercorns 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ tsp sea salt
½ lemon, for squeezing
1. First, make the seaweed butter. Using a mini chopper or pestle and mortar, grind the seaweed until it has broken down into small flecks no more than 5mm in size. Put the shallot, garlic, fennel seeds and pink peppercorns into the bowl of a food processor with the seaweed and blitz, then add the butter, salt and a squeeze of lemon juice and blitz again until well combined. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the fridge until needed. If you’re making it ahead, lay a piece of cling film out on a clean surface. Spoon the butter into the centre, then roll it up tightly into a sausage shape. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
2. When you’re ready to cook the langoustines or prawns, put them cut side up on a roasting tray and dot with the butter (about 2 teaspoons of butter on each langoustine or prawn). Grill or barbecue for 3–5 minutes, until the butter has melted and the flesh is cooked and just opaque. Serve garnished with wild fennel flowers, if you have some.
TIP: Look out for boxes of frozen langoustines at the fishmonger; they are usually a bit cheaper. You just have to thaw them in a sink of lukewarm water before you split and grill them.