Carpaccio of Dublin Bay Prawns
Dublin Bay prawns, used by Chef Plunkett in this elegantly simple appetizer, are more closely related to lobsters than to shrimp. The Venetians call them scampi, and other names for them include lobsterettes, langoustines, or langostinos. But a Dublin Bay prawn by any other name tastes just as sweet–if it is impeccably fresh. So buy them, head on, from a reputable fishmonger. The Beluga caviar Chef Plunkett uses is premium and expensive. You can take poetic license and substitute osetra or sevruga caviar (smaller eggs, slightly less expensive) or first-quality salmon caviar (large eggs, considerably less expensive).
- Dublin Bay prawns - 20
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 3/4 cup
- Lemon - 1 large, halved
- Beluga Caviar - 3 oz
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - As needed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper - As needed
- Lamb’s lettuce leaves - 32
- Mixed Fresh Herbs - 1/2 cup (chervil, tarragon, thyme, etc.)
- Chives - 8 spears
Remove prawn heads; reserve refrigerated for later use such as fish stock or soup enrichment. Shell prawn bodies and devein.
For each serving, place 5 prawns between two sheets of heavy plastic cling wrap. Flatten with a rolling pin or by pounding gently with the flat edge of a large cleaver.
Using an 8-inch ring from a spring form pan as guide, shape flattened prawns into a circle. Carefully peel off top cling wrap and discard. Invert prawns onto chilled plate and carefully peel off remaining sheet of cling wrap and discard.
Meanwhile, in a glass or plastic mixing bowl, combine the cream with the juice of 1/2 lemon. Use sieve to strain seeds and use reamer or juicer to extract all the juice. You should have about 1 cup cream-lemon juice mixture. Whisk mixture lightly; cream will thicken. Carefully fold in caviar.
Divide cream-caviar mixture into four parts and spoon around edge of each circle of prawns on the four plates. Brush surface of prawns, inside the sauce, with a little extra virgin olive oil. Using a sieve, squeeze a little lemon juice from remaining 1/2 lemon onto surface of prawns. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
To serve: Make a circle of 8 overlapping lamb’s lettuce leaves in center of each plated circle of prawns. Top lettuce with a small bunch of mixed fresh herbs. Stand two chive spears straight up in herbs. Serve immediately.