It’s Columbus Day: Italian Up Your Prawns, Like Chef Aaron Fitterman at Eighty Four on Seventh


Eighty Four on Seventh recently announced a new dinner menu and launched its first bar menu. Chef Aaron Fitterman shares a recipe from the appetizer section this Columbus Day. Pancetta-Wrapped Blue Prawns offer a little Italian twist on this classic starter.

“This simple appetizer showcases the luxurious blue prawn, which resembles a love child between shrimp and lobster,” says Fitterman. “The blue prawn is incredibly sweet and sexy. Romesco sauce is a very classic Spanish sauce that perfectly complements the blue prawns by adding a smoky savoriness to the finished dish.”

Pancetta-Wrapped Blue Prawns
by Aaron Fitterman of Eighty Four on Seventh

Yield: 4

For the marinade:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and cracked
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 lemon, zested

In a bowl, combine all ingredients, incorporating well.

For the prawns:

1 red bell pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons hazelnuts, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons almonds, lightly toasted
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (or to taste)
2 thick slices day-old sourdough, lightly toasted
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
salt, to taste
8 blue prawns, cleaned with heads and tails left on (jumbo shrimp may be substituted)
2 tablespoons marinade
16 thin slices pancetta

Lightly grease peppers with vegetable oil and, over a flame, grill until skin blisters. Place the peppers in a plastic bag to rest and loosen the skin. Once cooled, peel and discard skin and seeds. Using a food processor, pulse together the nuts and garlic. Add the paprika, pepper, and bread, and pulse more. Pour the sauce into a bowl, and whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil and sherry vinegar by hand. Season with salt, and set aside. (This Romesco sauce will be slightly lumpy.)

Lay out two slices of pancetta so that they overlap slightly. Brush the pancetta slices liberally with the marinade, then place a prawn on top. Wrap the pancetta around the prawn tightly, leaving the head unwrapped. Repeat with remaining prawns. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil and, once shimmering, add the prawns. Allow the prawns to color and the pancetta to crisp, about 1-2 minutes. Flip over gently and finish in an oven heated to 450 degrees F, another 1-2 minutes. Spoon a little of the Romesco on a plate, then place the cooked prawns on top of the sauce. Serve warm.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 10, 2011

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