Mr F and I are lucky enough to live a stone's throw from Broadway Market which has a great, proper fishmonger (Fin and Flounder, 71 Broadway Market) selling a veritable cornucopia of spankingly fresh and sustainably sourced fish and seafood. Once or twice a week we head over to pick up something for supper. As a relative newcomer to the joys of all things piscine Mr. F knows no fear - he regularly returns home to present me with a few pearly white squid or a clattery bag of clams. Last Saturday we decided upon some huge wild tiger prawns. The helpful fishmongers recommended cooking them simply in a hot pan for about a minute and a half on each side.
Our favourite vegetable stall was selling bunches of pungent wild garlic (which is to garlic what chives are to onions) and some early asparagus. We eagerly fell on these, and decided to cook a simple risotto with fennel and wild garlic to go with the prawns. As pink and green look so pretty together, we went the whole hog and added the asparagus into the mix.
I marinaded the prawns for a little while in olive oil, a sliced red chili, a sliced clove of garlic and parsley. I am not sure how much it added to the flavour given that I cooked them with the shells on, but it gave me the opportunity to take some atmospheric food photos, like this:
To serve two you will need:
For the risotto
A mug of risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
An onion, finely diced
A fennel bulb, finely diced
One bunch of wild garlic, stalks removed and the leaves finely sliced
One clove of garlic finely chopped
Butter and olive oil
A glass of a light, sharp white wine (sauvignon blanc for example)
Lemon juice to taste and zest of half a lemon
Small handful of grated parmesan
A handful of finely chopped parsley
Melt butter with olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the onion and half of the diced fennel. Cook until translucent but not brown, about ten minutes. Add the rice and stir until it also starts to become translucent around the edges. Add the garlic clove and remainder of the fennel. Turn up the heat and add the white wine. Stir until the wine has evaporated. Reduce the heat, then begin to add the stock (which should be in a pan on a low heat) ladleful by ladleful, stirring regularly. When the rice is creamily falling off the spoon whilst retaining its texture it is ready. Turn off the heat and add the wild garlic, lemon juice and zest, parmesan, butter, and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning. Leave your risotto for five minutes to settle before serving.
For the rest
Four wild tiger prawns
One bunch of asparagus
Whilst the risotto is resting, boil a pan of water and heat a griddle pan. Cook the prawns over a high heat for a minute and a half on each side. If they are very thick then it is also worth holding them on their backs for a few seconds to ensure that they are cooked. Cook the asparagus in well-salted boiling water for between 2 to 3 minutes depending on thickness. Drain and dress with a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and season.
Serve the dish with wedges of lemon, finger bowls and a receptacle for the shells and heads.