Large prawns benefit from a flash saute


January 12, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Contributing Writer

This dish was a signature item in my California restaurant years ago, but it's come a long way since then.

It began as a recipe in my co-authored book, "The Aphrodisiac Cookbook," and keeps surfacing as a favorite among readers. It has always been a flash saute but needed some calorie trimming. In the updated recipe below, no flavor has been lost by trading what was an excessive amount of butter for a minute amount of olive oil and a nonstick pan.

The recipe is best served over a starch to absorb the flavorful juices.

An especially tasty choice is orzo pasta, which cooks very quickly because of its tiny size. Once you have the 16-ounce box of orzo cooked according to package directions, drain it and then add 2 tablespoons of capers and 2 tablespoons of spicy hot and sweet mustard. Toss this well and keep warm while the shrimp is quickly prepared.

A fresh spinach salad with your favorite salad dressing completes the meal.

The bags of spinach that say prepared and washed save lots of prep time.

Splurge on dessert with a few fresh berries mixed with other seasonal fresh fruit such as pears, grapes, oranges or pineapple.

Top this with a mound of whipped ricotta, powdered sugar and vanilla. The ricotta can be part-skim or even try the new nonfat ricotta.

Items you should have as staples are: olive oil, garlic, lemons, spicy hot and sweet mustard, capers, salad dressing, fresh seasonal fruit, vanilla, powdered sugar.

Your 10-item-or-less shopping list:

1 1/4 pounds large shrimp or prawns

2 shallots

champagne (a split is an option)

orzo or tiny shaped pasta

fresh spinach for salad

fresh raspberries or strawberries

8, nonfat ricotta (small 8-ounce container)

Gently Persuasive Prawns

Serves 4

1 1/4 pounds large shrimp (or prawns)

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons minced shallots

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup very dry champagne

L 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, plus extra slices for garnish

1 tablespoon spicy hot and sweet mustard

1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill, plus extra for garnish

Shell and devein shrimp or prawns.

In a medium-sized nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add shallots and garlic and saute 1 minute. Add shrimp and saute quickly until just pink. Stir in champagne, lemon juice, dill and simmer three minutes. Serve over a bed of pasta or rice. Garnish with additional dill and fresh lemon slices.

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