Culture Street


Matt Preston's Prawns à la plancha

On November 7, 2013

Two little words have given us more pleasure on the set of MasterChef than any
other. This has been thanks to the ground-breaking decision, especially rare in
the prurient, euphemism-laden world of TV, to call a spade a spade, or in this
case to call the dark grit-filled intestinal track of a prawn its ‘poo shoot’. Top
chefs have not been immune to the power of saying these two little words. Rick
Stein seemed to revel in this freedom when he was on and, the producers used
to instruct Marco Pierre White to say ‘poo shoot’ just for the fun of it. Marco
says ‘poo shoot’ better than most of us. The words have a wonderful staccato
impact and the presence of two double ‘o’s allows you to wallow in either word
or both. Try it!

Serves 4


12 large green prawns

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra

5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thickly

1 heaped teaspoon sweet paprika

1 (about 100 g) hot or mild chorizo sausage, cut into slices on the angle

4 smallish red capsicums, cut into cheeks, seeds and veins removed

1 punnet cherry tomatoes, left whole

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar freshly ground black pepper

salt flakes

¼  bunch flat-leaf parsley

Toss the prawns in a bowl with the olive oil, garlic and paprika. Set aside.
Preheat the BBQ flat plate to medium. Tell your friends that you are heating
‘la plancha’. Cook the chorizo on the hotplate until it gets some colour. Take if off
and add the capsicum to the chorizo oil left behind and let it cook long enough to
blister and soften a little before adding the cherry tomatoes. Let these blister too.
You may need to add a splash more oil to the BBQ at this stage.

Add the prawns to a dry part of the grill plate and toss for a few minutes until
cooked. Add the chorizo to the capsicum and tomatoes. Once the prawns are
nearly done, toss everything together.

Remove from the heat using a spatula and taking as much of the cooking juices as
possible. Pour over the sherry vinegar, season with pepper and possibly a pinch of
salt to taste (the chorizo is salty so it may not be needed) and toss to coat. Leave
for a couple of minutes. Pile on a serving plate and scatter over the parsley leaves.
Serve with crusty bread to mop up the fats and juices.

TIP: To remove the poo shoot on a prawn that you plan to grill with the shell on, gently bend the tail joint so that the flesh is exposed a little. Insert a metal skewer or fork tine about 4 mm from the ridge and gently tug the vein. It should remove the shoot
in one smooth movement.

Recipe and image from Matt Preston's Fast, Fresh and Unbelievably Delicious, published by Pan Macmillan Australia, $39.99.

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