I have two passions in life : Brood War and gastronomy. They actually have a lot of common, and I can't help but draw a lot of similarities between them. You can play Brood War or watch it, just like you can cook or simply be a gourmet. They're enjoyable at any level, whether you're a D- noob or a Michelin starred chef. Modern food pope Bocuse would be The Revolutionist while Robuchon would be The Ultimate Weapon and Veyrat, The Dreamer. More importantly, you can never get bored: just like you already tried a recipe or have seen a strategy in the past does not matter, the execution is always different and will determine the outcome.
I had been thinking of writing a food blog for a while, and finally decided it was time to take the plunge. I specialize in Mediterranean and fine French food, but as a French expatriate in Shanghai, I also like to try fusion dishes.
The first entry of this blog is ginger-butter broiled tiger prawns/lobsters. I tried similar variations of this dish in South East Asia, it's very common to find those in hawker centers in Malaysia or Singapore. The main difference is that those are most of the time cooked with oil or margarine, there is little to no ginger in it, they put tons of garlic, and are barbecued or cooked on a griddle. It's also very similar to the way grilled lobster is cooked in Western cuisine, shortly boiled, then cut down in the middle and grilled. But I find it a bit too classical and bland, so I took the best of both worlds and added ginger juice. Not saying that no one ever made grilled lobsters with ginger before, but I tried a few variations and I am quite satisfied with the result, which is why I am sharing it with you.
What I love with this recipe is that we expect the ginger to overpower the delicate flavor of the prawns/lobsters, but it actually enhances it !
- 4 tiger prawns, as big as possible. I usually do this recipe with tiger prawns and with lobsters on special occasions, but I realized that in 'Murica, especially on the East Coast, lobsters may actually be cheaper than tiger prawns, so I gave instructions for both prawns and lobsters. If you can, absolutely go for lobsters ! Our Aussie friends can also use Moreton Bay bugs !
- 40 grams (3 Tbsp) of butter. Margarine is a big no-no.
- Enough ginger to extract 20 mL (1.5 Tbsp) of ginger juice
- 15mL (1 Tbsp) of lime juice
- Black pepper
- A clove of garlic.
Do not put more garlic than indicated as contrary to ginger, garlic will overpower the taste of the prawns/lobsters. Too much garlic will also make wine pairing very tricky.
- An over broiler, a Salamander, or anything that can provide a high temperature heat source coming from above. If you can't get anything close, an oven on maximum heat should do the job (~260°C/500°F)
- A sharp knife or kitchen sears to split open the shell of the prawns/lobsters.
- Any tool that can be used to extract the juice from the ginger. A garlic press is perfect. Crushed ginger tastes the same but it leaves some unpleasant fibers and I really do not recommend it.
This is what I was talking about when I said as big as possible
Step 1 :
Put the butter in a bowl and cook it in the microwave until melt. Make sure you do not overheat it as it would affect the taste. The time depends on the power of your microwave and on how many servings you are preparing. I suggest to check it after 30 seconds. Use the garlic press to crush the garlic and add it to the butter. Crushed garlic tastes much stronger than if it is finely chopped. Now the tricky part is to extract the ginger juice. I have not figured out a perfect way of doing it, but putting medium size dices of ginger in the garlic press and pressing over a cup gave me decent results. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 2 :
If you are using lobsters, you must boil them first. If you are using tiger prawns, skip this step. Put enough water in a large pot so that water will completely cover the lobsters after you plunged them. Add a table spoon of salt per liter of water. When the water is boiling plunge the lobster head first - studies have proven that this is the method that will make them suffer the less - and cook from 5 minutes for a 450 grams (1 lb) lobster to 9 minutes for a 900 grams (2lb) lobsters. Take them out of the water and put them in cold water to prevent it from cooking further. Note that it is not fully cooked at this point, but we will put it to broil later.
Step 3 :
Use a sharp knife and split them open as shown on the picture. Make sure you do not break through the shell below as it would make all the meat juice and butter mixture leak out when broiling. Take out the digestive tract (the black vein). Fill the crack with the ginger butter. Let it marinate of an hour. I could have pulled the meat out of the shell a bit, to obtain what we call "butterly prawns" as it looks much better, but the meat gets dry when broiling it.
I heard that blogs with mspaint pictures get better ratings on average
Step 4 :
Pre-heat your broiler/oven to high temperature (~260°C/500°F). Arrange the prawns/lobsters in a broiling pan, and place it under the broiler. Keep the oven door ajar to let the steam go out. I suggest you to read this article if you are using the broiler function of your oven for the first time. Cook for 5~7 minutes. Do not overcook. Serve immediately.
"Hey prawn !" "????" "looks like... you got served !"
I can't recommend more highly to enjoy this dish with a Gewürztraminer. Gewürztraminer is a grape variety with strong aromas of lychee, and sometimes rose and peach that harmonize perfectly with the ginger and the crustacean flavor. All sorts of Gewürztraminer are suitable, from the dry German Gewürztraminer to the very sweet late harvest or noble-rot affected French Gewürztraminer, as they all carry this powerful bouquet of lychee. I know that Gewürztraminer is also grown in USA but I never had the occasion to taste any, but since this flavor in inherent to the grape variety and not to the wine-making method, I feel same to assume that American Gewürztraminer will be great too with this dish. Smell the wine, take a bite, drink a small mouth of wine, come.
No other wine comes close to Gewürztraminer to pair with this dish, but if you really can't find any, then the next recommendations would be a white Pessac-Léognan (a white Bordeaux from the Graves region), or any Loire Valley wine made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes (such as Sancerre or Pouilly-fumé). My wine expertize is unfortunately limited to French wines so I apologize for not suggesting wines that you could fine more easily. I suggest to avoid woody Chardonnays.
As this is my first food blog, I would love to hear your questions and comments ! Was a step not detailed enough ? Was the dish tasting weird when you did it at home ? Were you interested in the wine pairing section ? Is there any variation of the recipe I could suggest if you are missing an ingredient ? Please let me know !
Completely unrelated question : I wanted to fix typos and update dead links in my previous blog entries but I can't find the edit button ?!