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If you need a simple yet special non veg appetizer to make an impression on your guests for New Year, this delicious buttery prawn recipe from Bon Appétit is the one you should bookmark. I’m pretty sure you will be making it plenty more times once you get over your festive hangover, in fact, every time you can get fresh king prawns from the deli to be more accurate. While whole prawns may be a whole lot more expensive than unshelled, frozen ones, you will definitely appreciate that peeling them after cooking ensures that they remain plump and juicy. It is only a matter of getting your fingers dirty at the table but nothing that a good rinse in a warm finger bowl cannot fix.

BUTTERY SPICY KING PRAWNS

Ingredients:

4 garlic cloves, 2 grated, 2 thinly sliced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 cup dry white wine, optional

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup unsalted butter

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Warm crusty bread, for serving

Method:

  • Whisk grated garlic, salt, and 1 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl. Add the prawns and toss well to coat.

  • Chill, uncovered, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet.

  • Cook prawns, being careful not to let brown, until pink but still slightly underdone, for 1 minute per side.

  • Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving as much oil in pan as possible. Now add the sliced garlic.

  • Add red pepper to skillet and cook, tossing, till fragrant, about 1 minute. Add white wine and lemon juice.

  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and cook, until melted.

  • Cook till sauce thickens for 5 minutes more. Scrape prawns along with any accumulated juices into skillet.

  • Toss to coat and cook until shrimp are fully cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to serving platter.

  • Top the prawns with parsley, and serve with warm, crusty bread for dipping alongside. Makes 4 servings.

Buttery Spicy Prawns

Published in the January 2016 edition of the famous Bon Appetit magazine, this particular recipe for crispy mozzarella sticks is the offering of its senior food editor, Andy Baraghani who does not compromise with the crunch factor. The sticks are double battered in layers of flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs which you will find in the Japanese gourmet section along with sushi making kits and green or red curry pastes. The sticks can be conveniently made in advance and frozen in batches to be served piping hot as appetizers for any brunch or dinner party you are planning to host.

MOZZARELLA STICKS

Ingredients:

1 pound mozzarella

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs, room temperature

3 tablespoons whole milk

2 cups breadcrumbs

1½ teaspoons garlic powder

1½ teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Vegetable oil, for frying

Kosher salt, for seasoning

Method:

  • Cut mozzarella into 3 x 1/2″ pieces. Place flour in a shallow dish. Whisk eggs and milk in another dish.

  • Mix breadcrumb, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, oregano, parsley, and thyme in third dish.

  • Working with one piece of mozzarella at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture.

  • Then coat in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to adhere. Repeat the same steps for a second coating.

  • Transfer to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of mozzarella.

  • Transfer the wire rack to freezer and freeze at least 1 hour. Fit a large pot with deep-fry thermometer.

  • Pour in the vegetable oil to come 2″ up sides. Heat over medium-high till thermometer registers 350°.

  • Working in batches, fry mozzarella, turning occasionally, till golden brown and crisp, 2 to 2½ minutes.

  • Transfer the sticks to a paper towel-lined plate, season with salt while still hot. Makes about 24 pieces.

Mozzarella Cheese & Herb Sticks

This month’s challenge is hosted by Sara from Sassy Suppers who challenged us to make pirozhki, little hand-sized pies filled with meat or vegetables. According to Anne Volokh in her book The Art of Russian Cuisine, pirozhki have been sold as street food since Peter the Great’s time. They have also been served during elaborate banquets both in Russia and Paris. The hand-held fried pies would be stuffed with meat, mushrooms, rice, eggs, cheese or jam.

The yeast dough recipe is the dough to use if you choose to fry your pirozhki. It is very sticky and tender. It will make you frustrated. When Sara tried to rush filling and pinching them, she ended up throwing a few out. Be patient; do not rush. Flour your work surface well and only work with one pirozhok at a time. Take your time and you will succeed.

DEEP FRIED PIROZHKI/ ZHARENYE PIROZHKI

Ingredients:

For the Meat Filling/ Myasnaya Nachinka

15ml / 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 small onions, finely chopped

455g / 1 pound lean ground meat

2 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped

30ml / 2 tablespoons chicken broth

30ml / 2 tablespoons sour cream

8g / 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Yeast Dough/Drozhzhevoe Testo

7g / 1/4oz / 1 package active dry yeast

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar

45ml / 3 tablespoons warm water

455g / 1 pound / 3 2/3 cups instant-blending flour

415ml / 1 3/4 cups warm milk (35°C / 95°F)

2 egg yolks, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

45g / 3 tablespoons softened butter

Vegetable oil, for frying

Method:

  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes till browned.
  • Add ground meat to skillet and cook until browned, breaking up clumps with a spatula. Transfer to a bowl.

  • Stir in the remaining ingredients. Let cool completely before using. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and warm water.

  • Proof yeast for five minutes. Add 190g/1 1/2 cups of the flour and all of the warm milk to the yeast mixture.
  • Beat on low speed with a blender or by hand for two minutes, scraping down sides, until it is well-blended.

  • Cover with plastic wrap or a cloth, set in a warm place for about 2 hours. The dough should be very bubbly.
  • You can hear bubbles forming and popping actively. In separate bowl beat egg yolks with remaining sugar.

  • Add salt and beat for three minutes by hand/ 30 seconds with an electric beater. Add the egg yolk mixture.
  • Then add the remaining flour to the dough. Using the dough hook, beat the dough at moderate low speed.

  • Alternately, beat with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Add the softened butter and beat for a minute more.
  • Switch to medium-high and beat dough for 12 minutes. Final dough will be very wet, almost like gum-like.

  • It should pull away in strings when you take the beater out. Scrape dough into a generously greased bowl.
  • Grease the top of the dough by spraying it with cooking spray or brush with oil. Cover it with plastic wrap.

  • Set dough in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough is doubled in bulk. The dough is now ready to use.
  • Refrigerate until ready to form pirozhki. To assemble, roll out half of the dough on a well-floured surface.

  • Roll the dough out to about 1/2 cm or 1/4″ thickness and use a 8 – 10 cm or 3 – 4″ cutter to cut out circles.
  • Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of a circle of dough and bring up the sides of the dough.

  • Pinch them together to seal the filling. Gently form the turnover into an oval, rounding out pointed ends.
  • Place on a greased cookie sheet or plate and allow the pirozhki to rise for about 30 minutes before frying.

  • They will not double but will look very puffy. Fill a pot or deep-frying with vegetable oil to depth of 10cm.
  • Heat to 190°C / 375°F. Line a plate with paper towels or use a cooling rack set over a pan to drain pastries.

  • Carefully lower 3 or 4 pirozhki into the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  • Remove the pirozhki from the oil and drain on the paper towels or the rack. Serve immediately. Makes 24.

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