My biggest culinary lesson was how to prepare basic essentials in advance. The french call this mise en place but I call it being prepared.
This dish, smart enough for company at short notice, requires the following:
A batch of Banting Mayo
A packet of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
A packet of leaves
One Avo per person
Frozen prawn meat.
Malden Salt and pepper
Here’s how you do it:
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Toss the still frozen prawns (10 per portion if they’re small) on a baking sheet, douse in olive oil, salt and pepper and liberal amounts of crushed garlic to keep vampires away.
Just as soon as the oven has reached 180, bung them in and roast for four minutes. Remove the tray, turn them over and roast for another four minutes. They should be coral in colour and firm but cooked through. Try one and add a minute or two more if they aren’t cooked all the way through. Prawns overcook easily and become mealy so take care.
Save the cooking juices.
Again, quantities here depend on the number of people you are serving, but prepare the avo by cutting them in half and removing the pip. Sprinkle with a drop of something acidic – lemon/vinegar etc or rub with an onion to prevent them going brown while oxidising. Arrange the lettuce leaves that you’ve tossed with olive oil and a splash of vinegar, on a plate with the two halves looking upward.
In a food processor or with a hand-held blender blitz the drained sun-dried tomato and now add, a tablespoon at a time, to the mayo and then the cooking juices and a dollop of hot sauce, if you can take it to make the sauce.
Tumble the warm prawns over your avo and top with a generous mount of my version of Marie Rose sauce.
Add more prawns and another avo to turn this into a main course. I like to serve bowls of Banting mayo and blitzed tomato on the side along with Tabasco or whatever your poison might be.
This dish can be made and eaten in 30 minutes if needs be.