Prawn bread porridge

Prawn bread porridge

Açorda de gambas

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Prawn açorda, a kind of bread-thickened soup, is dreamy when made well. I like mine spiced and lemony, bound together with a flavourful stock made from the shells of the prawns. If you can get your hands on some really good sweet red prawns, use only the shells for the stock and add the flesh right at the end, so that it’s almost raw and just heated through. Some of the marisqueiras (shellfish restaurants), around Guincho beach west of Lisbon serve fabulous açordas, and it’s just perfect to eat this by the sea.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
300g fresh raw king or tiger prawns, shell and head on
5 tablespoons olive oil
200g sourdough or ciabatta
1 fresh corn on the cob
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
a small handful coriander, stalks and leaves chopped separately
3 whole egg yolks
worcestershire sauce, to taste (optional)
freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
sea salt flakes
ground white pepper

Method

  1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the prawns. Boil for 3–4 minutes, or until the shells turn pink. Remove the prawns, reserving the cooking water. Once cool enough to handle, twist the heads to remove them. Peel them and use a small knife to make a slit along the middle of the back of each one, then pull out the veins.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat, add the prawn shells and heads and cook for a few minutes to release their flavour. Cover with the reserved cooking water and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid and discarding the shells. Tear the bread into rough chunks. Pour 500ml prawn stock over the bread and leave to soak in a bowl for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the grill to medium-high, add the corn and grill for 10–12 minutes, until just golden brown and crispy, turning it halfway during cooking. Once cooled slightly, cut the kernels off the cob.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan over a low heat. Add the fennel and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until soft, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Pour in the soaked bread and add the tomato, coriander stalks and corn. Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes, then stir through the prawns and 1 egg yolk. Taste for seasoning and add a dash of Worcestershire sauce, if you like.
  5. Serve in bowls with a fresh egg yolk on top of each one, and add a good squeeze of lemon juice, some extra-virgin olive oil and the coriander leaves.
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