Recipe Roundup: Spanish Sous Vide Prawns, Air-fried White Asparagus, Prawn Bisque and Potato Gratin
We cooked up a storm for friends, so we'd be remiss not to share the recipe. The sous vide prawns and prawn bisque went hand-in-hand with amazing flavour, while the simplicity in preparing the white asparagus belie the fresh crunch and sweetness of this tasty vegetable. To round it all off, the creamy and savoury potato gratin serves as a very satisfactory side dish.
Portions in our recipes serve 4 people.
Spanish-style sous vide prawns
- About 20 medium-sized prawns
- Half-teaspoon baking soda
- 6 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons of sherry
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 30g butter
- Toss the prawns with half a teaspoon of salt and the baking soda in a Ziplock bag (the baking soda is meant to help maintain the plump texture of the prawns). Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil and garlic slices in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir until garlic sizzles and softens. Before the garlic turns brown, add the paprika and stir, until the mixture smells fragrant. Add sherry and the cider vinegar, increase the heat to high, and cook until the mixture is reduced. The sauce mixture should have a consistent, slightly thick, texture.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter. Season with salt, then allow to cool for at least 5 minutes.
- Pour the sauce mixture into the Ziplock bag of prawns.
- Using your sous vide cooker, preheat the water bath to 54°C. Remove the air from the ziplock bags using the water displacement method: Seal the ziplock bag almost all the way, leaving about two centimetres open. Place bag into a separate water bath, holding the opened end above the water level. The water pressure in the water bath will force air out of the ziplock bag. Just before the bag is totally submerged, seal it completely.
- Cook the prawns in the sous vide water bath for anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes, and you're ready to serve!
The first word that comes to mind when eating this dish is "complex". Not in a manner that is inexplicable, but in the same way fresh, raw oysters taste of the sea (in all its multitudes of flavours). The paprika gives the prawns oomph and a smoky flavour, the garlic removes any trace of fishiness and adds a certain kick, and of course the prawns themselves give you a fresh taste of the ocean. With its buttery and creamy texture, together with the complexity from the sherry, this can be an emotional experience.
Air-fried white asparagus
- 8 stalks of white asparagus
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Peel the white asparagus, then lay them out flat on a sheet of aluminum foil,
- Pour about a tablespoon of the olive oil over the asparagus, then season with salt and pepper (to taste).
- Place the white asparagus into the air fryer and cook for 5 minutes at 200°C, and you're ready to serve! (Alternatively, you could also pan fry the white asparagus).
The preparatory steps for this dish are simple, but the great flavour certainly is not! Cooking white asparagus for this amount of time allows the abundant sugars in the asparagus to caramelise, bringing out lots and lots of sweetness. But because it isn't overcooked, the white asparagus remains succulent and crunchy. You'll be surprised by the results.
- Prawn shells and heads of about 20 prawns (from the sous vide prawns above)
- 50g of unsalted butter
- 80ml of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium-sized carrot, diced
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 celery stalks, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 60ml sherry
- 240ml white wine
- 1L chicken stock (can be store-bought)
- 50ml heavy cream
- Cayenne pepper
- In a large pot, melt the butter with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat until the butter is foaming (but before it browns). Add the prawn shells and heads to cover bottom of pot in a single layer and cook, stirring and scraping, until the shells are browned (this should take about 5 to 10 minutes).
- Add the carrot, onion, celery, and garlic, stirring and scraping bottom of pot, until vegetables are beginning to soften (about 5 minutes). You'll find that the bottom layer of the pot will continually be browning and a new layer of browning has formed on bottom of pot - continue stirring and scraping.
- Stir in the tomato paste and continue to stir for 1 minute.
- Add the sherry and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot. The alcohol will evaporate after a while.
- Add in the white wine and stir again, until all the browning at the bottom of the pot is dissolved into the liquid. Allow the liquid to simmer till the alcohol has evaporated.
- Pour in the chicken stock.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and allow the broth to simmer, uncovered, for about half an hour.
- Strain the stock, and pick out the vegetables (you'll need the vegetables, but not the prawn shells, to thicken the soup).
- Blend the stock with the vegetables . I used a hand blender, but a food processor will work equally well. Note that using all the vegetables will cause your soup to have a thick consistency. If you prefer a more liquid soup, you can add water or white wine.
- Reheat soup, being careful not to let it boil. Season with salt, pepper and just enough cayenne pepper to give the soup a subtle spiciness (be careful with the cayenne, because too much will overpower the soup).
- Ladle out the soup into bowls. When ready to serve, add a spoonful of the gravy from the sous vide prawn above (for added depth of flavour) and pour the heavy cream into the soup. Enjoy!
The reduction of prawn broth, chicken stock and white wine will produce a most delightful taste that dances on your tongue. Even the smell during the cooking process will make your salivation go crazy. The soup stock (before the vegetables are blended in) is so amazing that you could drink it alone as a clear soup, and it'll give you a power-packed flavour that's filled with umami. Blended with the vegetables, cream and cayenne pepper, the prawn bisque has an added layer of texture and spice. It's hearty, delicious and warms your soul.
- 20g Parmigiano-regiano
- 120ml heavy cream
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 large russet potatoes
- Grate the cheese into a bowl and add the heavy cream and garlic. Season the mixture generously with salt and pepper.
- Slice the russet potatoes as thinly as possible and add them into the mixture individually.
- Toss each potato slice with your hands until every slice is coated with the cream mixture, making sure to separate any slices that are sticking together to get the cream mixture in between them.
- With a handful of the sliced potatoes, organise them into a vertical stack in a caserrole dish. The potatoes should be tightly stacked.
- Pour in the excess cream mixture until the dish is half-full.
- Cover tightly with foil (the cream mixture will bubble during cooking and may spill out). We cooked it using an air fryer, but you could just as easily bake it in an oven. Transfer the dish into an air fryer and cook for 45 minutes at 185°C (you could bake at 200°C in an oven instead). If you want a crispy crust, you could remove the foil for the last 5 minutes and cook the potato gratin at 200°C.
Rich and savoury with a crispy crust - that's all you could ask for in a potato dish. The fat in the cream cooks the potatoes to perfection (I tried it once with milk, and the potatoes tasted bland and boiled - not so with heavy cream!), and the cheesy, crispy upper layer provides some varied texture. The richness of this dish serves well the balance the complexity of the prawn bisque and sous vide prawns, you'd definitely want to match all of these dishes together.
Pictured but not featured: soy miso sous vide salmon
We've written about this savoury and heavenly soy miso sous vide salmon before - read our recipe and review here.