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Appetizers, Fish and Shellfish, Mains, Quick and Easy

Spot prawns roasted in spiced salt

Spot prawns roasted in spiced salt
Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

Almost offhandedly, Tommy Pearson points across the ocean toward the horizon: "Look at all those birds, must be some dolphins coming." Sure enough, a couple of minutes later we're in the midst of a pod that seems a quarter-mile across. ... Read more

Total time: 35 minutes | Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground smoked paprika
  • 2 pounds spot prawns
  • 10 cups salt

Step 1Heat the oven to 400 degrees and place a rack on the top third and bottom third of the oven.

Step 2In a spice grinder, grind the peppercorns, allspice, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and paprika into a fine powder.

Step 3Place the spot prawns in a large bowl, pour the spice mixture over and toss to combine. Place the salt in a separate large bowl and stir in 1 2/3 cups water so the texture is that of gritty snow.

Step 4Line two jellyroll pans with foil and spread some of the salt in a layer about one-fourth-inch deep. Divide the prawns evenly between the pans, arranging them in a single layer. Mound the rest of the salt on top, covering them completely in a smooth, even layer.

Step 5Roast for 18 minutes until the prawns are fragrant and the meat is firm. Remove the pans from the oven and cool briefly.

Step 6With a sturdy metal spoon or chef's knife, chip a crack around the base of the salt crust and carefully lift off the top. Use a dry pastry brush to wipe away any salt on the surface of the prawns. Serve immediately with fingerbowls for rinsing.

Note: You can use coarse or fine salt to roast the prawns; fine salt will form a firmer, more compact crust that will be harder to crack after roasting.

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