Prawn cazuela veracruz

Prawn cazuela veracruz

By
From
Cantina
Serves
4
Photographer
Chris Middleton

Food from Veracruz is heavily influenced by colonial Spain and a cazuela is a rustic Spanish cooking method. A nice piece of marinated fish, a splash of wine, some aromatic broth and some salsa in a hot oven and you have a quick and utterly delicious meal. When preparing a seafood stew add the quicker-cooking seafood towards the end of the cooking so everything cooks evenly. I love the smell of the caramelising prawn (shrimp) shells roasting in an intense wood oven, and the speed with which they cook leaves them moist and juicy. You can add vegetables such as cooked sweet potatoes or split raw okra too if you like.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg extra-large prawns, peeled with heads left on
oil, for brushing
125ml medium-dry sherry or tequila
Veracruz sauce

Marinade

Quantity Ingredient
150ml extra-virgin olive oil
4 serrano chillies, seeded and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large handful oregano leaves, finely chopped
squeeze lime juice
sea salt, to taste
pinch ground cumin to taste

Garnish

Quantity Ingredient
65g flaked almonds
olive oil
sea salt, to taste
smoked paprika, to taste
2 tablespoons capers
160g padron peppers, briefly fried in olive oil to soften
1 handful caperberries
1 small handful flat-leaf parsley

Sherry caramel

Quantity Ingredient
200ml pedro ximenez sherry
200ml sherry vinegar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Preheat a cazuela/ovenproof dish with a lid in the oven.
  2. To prepare the marinade, combine the olive oil, chilli, garlic, oregano and lime juice in a medium bowl. Season with salt and cumin. Add the prawns to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until required.
  3. To prepare the garnishes, place the almonds in a small bowl, drizzle with oil, season with salt and smoked paprika and toss to coat. Bake in the oven, stirring once or twice, for 3–5 minutes, until golden. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, pour enough olive oil into a small frying pan for shallow-frying. Fry the capers for 1–2 minutes, until crispy. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Season with salt.
  5. To prepare the sherry caramel, combine the Pedro Ximénez sherry and sherry vinegar in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat, until reduced to a syrup. Set aside.
  6. Remove the preheated cazuela dish from the oven and brush with oil. Place the prawns in the dish and bake in the oven for 2 minutes. Turn the prawns over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Pour in the dry sherry and Veracruz sauce, shaking the pan a little to combine the flavours. Return to the oven and cook for 4 minutes, until the prawns are just cooked through.
  7. To serve, arrange the prawns in sauce on serving plates. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds, fried capers, peppers and caperberries. Lightly dress the parsley with a little oil and scatter on top and drizzle artfully with the sherry caramel.

Paul’s tip

  • A fast tomato sauce flavoured with chilli, capers and orange would also be a nice alternative to the complex restaurant-style sauce used here.
Tags:
Latin
Mexican
Mexico
Cantina
Paul Wilson
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