Prawn cacciucco

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Cooking Time30 mins
  • Serves2
  • DifficultyEasy
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 small onions, cut into 1cm cubes
1 fennel bulb, cut into 1cm cubes, fronds reserved
Pinch crushed chilli flakes
4 garlic cloves, smashed
250ml dry white wine
1 tin Italian plum tomatoes, pureed
1 large pinch saffron
1 lemon, zested
1 bay leaf
250ml water
4 extra-large (U-10) prawns, head-on and unpeeled
1 dozen littleneck clams
100g cooked or tinned cannellini beans, drained
100g escarole leaves, washed and torn into pieces
1) Coat a large saucepan with extra-virgin olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Add the diced onion, season with salt, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

2) Add the fennel and crushed chilli flakes and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat for 1 to 2 more minutes. The vegetables should look soft and wilted, be very aromatic, but not have any colour. Add the white wine and cook until reduced by half.

3) Stir in the tomatoes, saffron, lemon zest, bay leaf and 240ml of the water. Taste for seasoning, and season with salt. It should not taste done but it should taste good. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste again; it should taste really good now. Add some more salt, if needed (it probably will). Turn off the heat and reserve.

4) Coat a large frying pan with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Season the prawns generously with salt. When the oil is sizzling, add the prawn and cook them on both sides until they turn pink, about 1 minute on each side. Remove the prawns from the pan to a plate and reserve.

5) Remove the oil from the pan and put over a medium-high heat. Add the clams and the cooked tomato mixture. Cover and cook until the clams begin to open, about 5 minutes. If the tomato mixture starts to become too thick add some more water. Taste to make sure it tastes good and season with some salt, if needed. Add the beans, escarole, and the cooked prawns. Cover and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

6) Remove the clams and prawns from the pan to a bowl. Spoon the tomatoes and beans into 2 large bowls. Arrange the prawns and clams on top. Garnish with the reserved fennel fronds and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

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