Saffron Prawn Pasta & The Tale of The Prawn Pushers
This is my latest baby. Born out of love for pasta and prawns, mixed with a pinch of time pressure and laziness.
Quick Storytime: Once, my friend and I dialed the restaurant that we were already seated at just because we were too lazy to get up to get the waiter's attention.
My love for prawns is perhaps abetted by the cunning Prawn Pushers, stationed strategically at my favourite local supermarket.
They are quick to identify their victims' weaknesses. In about 5 seconds, they would assess if one was looking for fish, clams or prawns.
So the unsuspecting victim, ME, would be browsing mindlessly at the seafood counter and these seemingly jovial workers would S-P-R-I-N-G into action at once! They would rush from inside their counter and ask if I was looking for any particular type of prawns because they would have noticed my delight when I see LARGE prawns.
Prawn Pusher 1
Attendant at Batai Village, Damansara: *Smiles widely, radiating hypnotic charm from his kind eyes* Yes miss, these are fresh in today. Ambiklah, sedap ni
Me: Ye ke, sedapp ke? Ok, I'll take 4 large ones.
Attendant: *Smiles* Haha ok I will pack them for you.
Me: Oh, maybe I'll take 6
Attendant: *Smiles again*
Me: Oh, tak cukup kan. Ok, I'll take 8
Attendant: *Smiles knowingly*
What is with his SMILE???? I find that I need to steer myself away from his counter every time I go to Batai Village because I would inevitably end up with a packet of large, expensive prawns.
Prawn Pusher 2
Attendant at Jason's BSC: Hi miss (runs from behind the counter) looking for sea prawns today?
Me: Uhmm, I'm just looking. Uh.. wooooww these prawns look gigantic *salivating*
Attendant: Yes miss
Me: Oh, but I'm not sure if I want to cook prawns today. But anyway (tempting fate) do you have peeled prawns? Maybe I will go for that.
Attendant: Sorry miss, peeled prawns will only be available tomorrow. (Pauses for only 2 seconds) But if you want I can peel and clean them for you (that's it, he HOOKED ME)
Me: Oh can you? Ok the, give me 4 pieces
Attendant: Uhhh, how many people are you cooking for?
Me: Well it's just for 2
Attendant: 2 pax only?? I CAN EAT 12 large prawns!!!
Me: Ohhhh in that case, well give me 8 pieces.
I decided to outsource all the prep work and spend the tiny sliver of free time I have enjoying the cooking process.
So I bought 3 items on a Eureka moment:
Frozen Chopped Spinach
Peeled Prawns (because☝🏼 Prawn Pusher)
This is my recipe I whipped up as a result from my Prawn Pusher No 2.
First, marinate prawns in salt, white pepper, mixed grounded pepper, garlic powder, paprika AND English Mustard. Then brown them in the wok, remove and set aside.
Then fry garlic cloves and butter.
Add saffron into the wok. Stir for a while and add cream.
Add pasta that is cooked up til 90% doneness. (I added a bit more saffron here cos I wanted more colour.
Taste the sauce.. do you like it? I added a bit more butter here at his point because I realise, well, it needs more butter!
Next, I added mustard, chopped spinach, edamame and prawns. Keep folding them for 1-2 minutes.
This is a simple, medium bodied and well-balanced pasta dish.
The beauty of this dish is the perfect symmetry of fattiness from the cream balanced by the intensity of the English Mustard; but most of all it's the earthiness coming from the edamame and spinach that makes this so satisfying. Every bite will draw you in for more.
And from each bite, I devised a new recipe that would add complexity to the taste profile and also because I had a sudden inspiration to incorporate wine into the dish.
But more of that later. Because that involves another Throwback story of how I accidentally got my friends intoxicated.
Recipe serves 2-4
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
8 prawns (marinated in salt, white pepper, mixed grounded pepper, garlic powder, paprika AND English Mustard)
I love this brand cos it's spicy and tangy
1/4 packet of pasta
1 bowl full of chopped spinach
1/4 bowl of peeled edamame
4-5 cloves of garlic
100 ml (or 5-6 tbsp) of cream
1/5 stick of butter
A pinch of saffron
3 tsp English mustard (tip: put them in bit and bit for taste test and gauge the balance)