Prawn and Asparagus Salad with Saffron-Yogurt Hollandaise & 1 “Insane” #FBC12 Winner!
(Photography by Sarka Babicka)
Well folks, the #FBC12 “insane” giveaway has seen an incredible (1640 entries) turn out of participants. Thanks to all who participated and I’m thrilled to see so many of you keen to attend #FBC12, especially as returnees. Now, the news you’ve all been waiting to hear (maybe) …. A very big congratulations to
Sally Prosser, please get in touch via email and we will arrange for your ticket and sessions to be booked. Again, thanks to all who participated and I wish you could have all been winners but alas, there’s only so much money in the pot!
And here’s a recipe to help bury disappointments… I hope. x
Prawn and asparagus salad with a saffron-yogurt hollandaise
When vivid asparagus are in season, I am often drawn to wed them to hunchbacked prawns, the delectable union presided over by the sanctity of a hollandaise sauce. Inviting a few peppery green leaves, herbs like tarragon, and avocado for good measure turns it into a really satiating affair. Here, the hollandaise is made using yogurt, which makes it less roly-poly than the usual butter-laden sometimes butter-oppressed versions. As someone who is very much infatuated with butter and its comforting, joy-imposing characteristics, I can boldly declare that the taste is not at all compromised. In fact, there is still a relative richness to the sauce as it maintains a vibrant freshness. Verjuice is the unfermented juice of semi-ripe grapes which adds delicate sweet-tangy tones and can be purchased from most Middle Eastern grocers as well as online here.
Serves 4 as a main
350g/12 oz beets, scrubbed clean and quartered
4 tbsp olive oil
450g/ 1 lb asparagus
450g/1 lb prawn, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp finely chopped tarragon
15g/1/2 oz butter
1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
2 handfuls of rocket leaves
1 pinch saffron
125ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp verjus, lemon juice or apple cider
1/4 tsp English mustard
2 medium egg yolks
Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/4G. Add the beets to a roasting tin lined with foil, toss the beets with 3 tbsp olive oil, sea salt, and crimp the edges of the foil to create a parcel. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or till tender and cooked through. Keep warm till ready to serve.
Meanwhile, boil water in a kettle, and trim the hard ends off the bottom of the asparagus spears, then lay them in a baking dish. Once the water in the kettle has come to a boil, pour over the spears and leave them to sit for 5 minutes or till tender but still with a crisp bite. Drain the asparagus and drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt, cover and set aside in a warm place. Season the prawns with sea salt, freshly ground pepper, tarragon and toss well to cover. Place a heavy-based frying pan on medium heat, melt the butter, then add the shrimp, in two batches if necessary, and cook until they turn pink and just cooked through, 2 minutes on each side. Keep warm.
Next, dilute saffron in 2 tbsp hot water and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Create a double broiler, by placing a pot over medium heat, fill halfway with water and secure a mixing bowl into the pot, so the bottom of the bowl is just touching the water level. Remove the mixing bowl, and to it add the yogurt verjuice or lemon, if using, English mustard, saffron water, egg yolks, salt and pepper and whisk well. Once the water has come to simmer, add the bowl over the pot and cook over gently simmering water, about 8-10 minutes, whisking constantly till it thickens. Remove from heat and divide all the ingredients amongst 4 serving plates, then pour over the hollandaise or serve as a side.