Alaska Spot Prawns with Mexican Grilled Vegetables and Pasta, by Chef Rick Bayless

Alaska Spot Prawns with Mexican Grilled Vegetables and Pasta, by Chef Rick Bayless

 Prawns in Pasta

Serves: 4

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 pound medium-large (about 24) Alaska Spot Prawns, peeled and deveined (last tail segment left intact if you wish)
  • 1 bottle (16 oz) Frontera Roasted Red Pepper & Garlic Salsa (see salsa recipe below)
  • salt, as needed
  • 4 medium zucchini, each cut into 4 long slices
  • 2 medium-size ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 pound orecchiette, penne or farfalle pasta
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup queso anejo or Romano, grated

PREPARING THE PRAWNS AND VEGETABLES. Skewer the spot prawns and brush with 2 to 3 Tbsp of the salsa. Sprinkle with salt and let marinate while you grill the vegetables. Brush the vegetables with olive oil. One by one lay the vegetables on the grill. Sprinkle with salt, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, flip everything over and brush with oil. Cover and cook 3 or 4 minutes longer, transferring to the cutting board as they are done: the tomatoes, zucchini and onion slices. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Mix 2 Tbsp of the salsa with the honey. Brush the spot prawns with the honey mixture. Grill, turning once, until the spot prawns are just opaque throughout, about 3 minutes total.

COOKING THE PASTA. Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain well. Place in a large bowl. Heat the remaining salsa in a medium saucepan, then add the grilled vegetables; heat through. Toss the mixture with the drained pasta.

SERVING. Divide the pasta among 4 warm dinner plates and place a skewer of spot prawns on the side. Sprinkle with cilantro and cheese.



For 2 1/2 cups of Salsa

  • 4 (1 1/3 ounces) dried New Mexico Chiles
  • 1/2 pound (3 medium plum) ripe tomatoes (preferably plum tomatoes)
  • 1/2 small (2 ounces) white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 head garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, preferable Mexican
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)

For 5 cups of Salsa

  • 8 dried (2 2/3 ounces) New Mexico Chiles
  • 1 pound (6 to 7 medium plum) ripe tomatoes (preferably plum tomatoes)
  • 1 small (4 ounces) white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 head garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferable Mexican
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

For 7 1/2 cups

  • 12 (4 ounces) dried New Mexico Chiles
  • 1 1/2 pounds (10 medium plum) ripe tomatoes (preferably plum tomatoes)
  • 1 medium (6 ounces) white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 1/2 heads garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, preferable Mexican
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)

1. HEAT THE BROILER. Pull the stems off the dried chiles, tear them open and shake out the seeds (if you prefer a more refined salsa, be sure to remove all the seeds). Place in a bowl, cover with hot tap water and lay a plate on top to keep them submerged.

2. LAY THE WHOLE TOMATOES on a broiler pan or baking sheet (line it with foil if you wish for easy clean up and juice retrieval). Set as close to the broiler as your oven allows (usually 4 inches from the heat source) and broil for about 6 minutes, until darkly roasted and blackened in spots (the tomato skins will split and curl). With a pair of tongs, flip over the tomatoes and roast them for another 6 minutes or so, until they are cooked through (theyll be soft) and darkly splotchy. Set aside to cool.

3. TURN THE OVEN DOWN to 425F. Separate the onion into rings and, on a pan or baking sheet, similar to the one you used for the tomatoes, combine it with the garlic. Set in the oven. Stir carefully every few minutes, until the onions are soft and beautifully roasted (dont worry if some of the edges char) and the garlic is soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes total. (For a wonderfully smoky salsa, the onion and garlic can all be roasted on a perforated grilling pan over a moderately low charcoal fire.) Cool to room temperature.

4. IF YOURE NOT INCLINED TOWARD RUSTING TEXTURES in your salsa (or if youre canning the salsa), pull off the peels from the cooled tomatoes and cut out the coreswhere the stems were attached (catch the flavorful juices on the baking sheet as you work, so as not to waste any of them). By now the chiles should be soft (to get them to the perfect stage of rehydration-before theyve lost much flavor into the water-dont let them soak longer than 30 minutes); drain them. In a blender (you can use a food processor here, but the texture wont be as nice), combine the drained chiles with the tomatoes and their juice. Process to a rather smooth puree-chile skins are tough, so you want to get them chopped up enough. (If youre making the largest quantity, you may have to do this in two batches.) Scrape 2/3 of the puree into a large bowl. Roughly chop the onion-garlic mixture, then add it to the blender and pulse repeatedly until all is moderately finely chopped. Scrape down the sides from time to time to keep everything moving evenly, and if the mixture just wont move through the blades, add a little water to loosen it up. Scrape the puree into the bowl. Stir in the oregano and vinegar, then add enough water to give this salsa a light consistency-these red chile salsas are typically smoother, runnier and more highly seasoned than we tend to make in this country.

5. TASTE AND SEASON highly with salt-this is a condiment, remember. Taste again and add a little sugar if you think its necessary to balance any lingering bitterness in the chiles. If youre planning to use your salsa right away simply pour it into a bowl and its ready, or, refrigerate it and use within 5 days.

Recipe By:
Chef Rick Bayless

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