Slam Jam Challenge#1: Orange and Fennel Prawns with Vanilla Polenta Cakes
August 10, 2008 in Uncategorized
I’ve never cooked prawns or polenta before.
And I’m a big fan of prawns (goggas of the sea but bloody lekker!). The closest I’ve come to polenta is braai-pap with chakalaka.
So I was quite keen on stepping up to this challenge.
Here we have the stars of today’s show: prawns, vanilla pod, fennel (sprigs and fennel teabag for an improv effort), polenta and orange.
Headless and de-veined prawns were marinated overnight in the following:
Juice of two oranges (Cover the whole oranges in boiling water before you juice them, I read somewhere that the immersion in hot water makes it easier to draw out all their juice. )
Juice of one lemon (Juice as per orange method)
cracked black pepper
Nomu’s African Heat
Nando’s Medium peri-peri sauce (just a dash)
Chopped garlic (lots and lots)
The contents of one fennel teabag
Coarse red chillies
Orange rind (the obvious thing would be to use the skin of one or two of the juiced oranges)
Warm up peri-peri oil in a wok with fennel seeds and sesame seeds. Wait until the seeds give off their scent before tossing in the prawns and their marinate.
Once the prawns turn pink, toss in a can of chopped tomatoes, the juice of one more orange and some more fennel seeds.
Cook the prawns until the liquid reduces into a sauce. (If you’d like the sauce to thicken further, do a cheat move by sprinkling over a little flour and stirring in).
For the polenta:
This was prepared according to the packet’s instructions.
Four parts water to one part polenta.
The water was brought to a gentle boil along with one split vanilla pod. In went the polenta and a bout of mad stirring followed. I added a few drops of vanilla extract for extra flavour.
Once cooked, a serving suggestion on the packet led me to taking dollops of polenta and shaping them into rounds using olive-oiled hands and putting them into a hot oven to crust. (Remove the vanilla pods before doing this. Clean them, dry them and pop into a jar of sugar to store. Everyone will attest that this gives you yummy vanilla flavoured sugar you can use in anything and over everything.)
Saucy orange prawns served on vanilla polenta cakes.
The orange paired with the fennel (and punctuated by the garlic and peri-peri) was perfectly complemented by the delicate vanilla of the polenta (I couldn’t figure out whether I was tasting the vanilla or smelling it, either way I was enthralled).
I deem (husband deems, mother deems) this challenge a raging success.
I ate the entire meal with a goofy smile on my face, lost in the flavour of it all. Thank you Stardust Bunny for inspiring a symphony that will be encored time and time again.