Sesame Prawns with Mango and Asparagus Salad
- 8 green king prawns
- 2 bunches asparagus
- 2 large mangoes
- 1 knob ginger
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
- rice vinegar or lime juice
- vegetable oil
- sea salt flakes
- freshly ground black pepper
This is a recipe that I created a few years back while I was on a quick hiatus on my motorcycle. I was running a very high stress level in the restaurant and decided a quick jaunt down the south coast was in order to stay sane. I spent a day in the saddle with no particular destination and pulled into Hyams Beach on Jervis Bay and decided to call it home for a couple of days. That was as soon as I could find a place that would have me. I asked the lady at the town convenience shop/restaurant where I could find some reasonable accommodation. She directed me to a guest house down the road and told me to tell the owner that she had sent me. I liked this place already, I'd been here five minutes and already I was dropping names for referrals.
The guest house was run by an elderly widow. The room had a fantastic view of the Bay and its unexpected white sand beaches. Upon showing me the place the pleasant little lady showed me the kitchen and said I could use anything I needed there, there was also a TV room and a reading room if I felt so inclined. I thanked her for her hospitality and paid for the room and decided to head out and get something to eat.
I had every intention of not cooking on this little excursion but after relaxing in the saddle all day and a quick nap on the beach I quite felt like preparing something for dinner. I jumped back on the bike and headed up the road to Huskisson for some essentials. I had no idea what I wanted to eat so I went into the veg market for a little snoop around. Asparagus was on for 80 cents a bunch so I decided to grab a bunch, as I reached for them I thought about what I could make with them and started to think that after a day eating road grime and bugs, some sort of salad would be perfect. Mangoes were in season and cheap as well so I stocked up on a few of them. Next item was a bit of fresh ginger and then off to the fish market. At the fish market I bought 6 King prawns which set me back less than 10 bucks. I stuck these foundations of a very nice summer meal along with a six pack of ale into my back pack and rode back to the guest house.The last few remaining ingredients I found left in the cupboards of the guest house left by previous visitors. First thing I did was prepare some of the dressing for the salad, this involved shredding some of the ginger and combining a touch of sesame oil and a couple splashes of Mirin. After that I cleaned the prawns and crusted them in sesame seeds and then simply prepared and cut the asparagus and mango. I cracked a beer, cooked the prawns, tossed the salad, slid it all onto a plate, grabbed a bread roll and walked out the back door onto the beach. As I sat eating my meal the sun was just starting to drop below the horizon to my back. I looked out over the bay at the golden light slowly fading as it reflected off the heads of the bay. The combination of that ride, that meal and that sunset washed down with a beer was almost recharging enough for me to head straight back to work."Naah one more day of this won't hurt", I said to myself out loud on the desolate beach.
- Clean and de-vein the prawns and set aside (heads and tails can be left on for a more impressive presentation).
- Put a pot of salted water onto boil.
- Cut the woody bases of the asparagus spears off and discard, cut the remainder of the spears on a 45 degree angle into 2 cm (1 inch) pieces.
- Add 10-15 ice cubes to a bowl and add a bit of cold water.
- Blanche the asparagus in the boiling water ubtil vibrant and deep green (approx 45 seconds depending on thickness) remove from the water and plunge into the ice bath, leave for a few minutes until completely cooled and drain.
- Remove the cheeks of the mangoes and scoop the flesh from the skins, cutting the flesh into 2cm (1 inch) squares, and set aside. Peel the skin off the remaining centre pitt and squeeze the juice from it into a medium mixing bowl.
- Peel & grate the ginger into the medium mixing bowl, add about 2 tsps sesame oil, 1 tbsp mirin, and 2 tsps rice vinegar or lime juice.
- Whisk the liquid ingredients together and season to taste with the sea salt and pepper.
- Toss the asparagus and mango pieces through the dressing and divide evenly among 4 plates.
- Gently roll the flesh of the prawns in the sesame seeds.
- Add about 2 tbsps vegetable oil to a pan and gently cook prawns over medium high heat, approx 1 minute per side (again depending on size).
- Once prawns are cooked arrange on top of salads and serve immediately.