“Jaysus, I’d she has a hoop on her like the rear end of the Batmobile. ”
A mate of mine made this remark after watching a lady spend an hour wolfing down whole prawns – shells, tails and all. I guess he must have had personal experience of what happens to you when you eat the parts of crustaceans that are usually discarded. Not the kind of thing you wanna hear when you’re chomping on cheap fare in an All- You- Can-Eat-Chinese mind you. But it’s a fair point nonetheless.
Buffets appear to be the only establishments where the staff are so lazy and the quality of produce so unbelievably poor, that they can’t be arsed peeling and deveining the prawns they serve. These are the kind of shrimp that are shipped in from dodgy South East Asian fish farms. Owned and operated by the kind of lads that Gordon Ramsey was hunting down in the recently aired Channel 4’s Great Fish Fight.
Nobody likes hearing a lecture, but there are a multitude of issues around modern food production that need to be addressed and the telly that seems to be the best medium for making people aware of them. For me, some of these urgent problems were really well highlighted in those Channel 4 programmes. Like, why the fuck don’t we eat more fish from our local seas? The most obvious being langoustines, otherwise known as Dublin Bay Prawns or Scampi (when they’re breaded and deep fried). We produce bucketloads of these bad boys around our waters, they taste amazing and yet, we send most of them out to France and Spain? This is truly a baffling exercise.
Maybe their low usage here could be down to a lack of understanding of what to do with them. If so, then perhaps we can address that a little now.Get thee down to a half decent fishmonger (try Kish in Smithfield for instance) and order your langoustines. Approach them like 2 halves of the one beast, the top half has the head and claws and the bottom half has most of the meat. Chop them in half, keep the heads and claws for a seafood broth/stock. Remove the shells from the bottom halves by simply peeling them. If there is still a black line of gut along the meat, remove it with the end of a fork. Or else you can pull it with the tail, as is demonstrated here. When you have successfully removed the flesh from them all, you will have to look towards someone far more refined and delicately handed than I in order to flavour and cook them…
No better buachaill, than Johnny Kalsi from The Dhol Foundation. A master of the Punjabi Dhol drum, Johnny has toured and performed with the likes of, Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page and is a permanent member of Afro Celt Soundsytem.
Here’s Johnny with the singer from some band called Led Zeppelin. I think they’re from Mullingar.
Being uber talented is one thing, but Johnny must be the most liked drummer on the planet. Amongst his peers, the mere mention of his name seems to bring a smile to anyone’s face. I’d say it’s coz they’ve had his cooking. He likes to bring his Indian heritage to the dinner table and he’s a bloody dab hand at it too. Please observe…
JOHNNY KALSI’S LANGOUSTINES IN INDIAN BATTER
The flesh of 10 langoustines
1 cup of gram flour (available in any Asian food store)
1.5 teaspoons of Mustard or Cumin Powder
110 ml of Yogurt
75ml of water
3 finely chopped spring onions
Zest of half a lime
2 to 3 finely chopped green chillies
Small handful of freshly chopped coriander
See above for preparing the langoustines. Heat up a deep fat fryer to 190 degrees.
Take all the other ingredients and mix them into a large bowl to make a thick batter.
Coat the langoustines in the batter and deep fry until golden. Serve them on a bed of lettuce that’s been seasoned with lemon juice and a little bit of salt and pepper. Garnish with some more fresh coriander.