Elegance. This appetizer does have the name and the looks that exude sophistication with all the flavors to match. Don’t however, be put off by this as getting your prawns to perfection ain’t hard at all with sous vide cooking. . . and the sabayon, nothing too fancy there too but its name.
Preheat your water bath, get the prawns in a sous vide bag, cook for a given length of time – and you’re done. Fail-proof cooking, giving you perfectly tender and flavorful prawns every single time.
So let’s begin. Peel your prawns, leaving the last segment of shell and tail to serve as handles come service time. Get those prawns in a sous vide bag together with a bit of fat. Butter, olive oil, vegetable oil – your call. The fat will be there to keep the surface of the prawns smooth as they cook so they end up looking really sexy on those cocktail glasses.
You may season your prawns now with any herb, spice, or extract you prefer, but not with salt. Salt will draw out moisture from the prawns leaving them tough and rubbery. You may season them before or during service, but I doubt you’ll still need to, given the very flavorful sabayon in this recipe.
Some orange zest, whole capers, dill sprigs would reinforce the flavors intended in this recipe. But if you’ll ask me, I love the natural sweetness of prawns to come out. . . nothing else. The sabayon will be there to complement this flavor and not mask it.
Leave the prawns to cook in the water bath for 30 minutes at 135F with my immersion circulator. Don’t have one? Check out this review of Anova’s newest model. This time and temperature should be enough to cook them moist and tender with just the right amount of springiness.
Meanwhile, let’s make a sauce. Actually, the prawns will end up too good that some lemon butter or classic cocktail sauce would do. A sabayon ain’t that difficult to do either, so why stop here?
A savory sabayon usually starts with a strong-flavored reduction – orange juice, capers, and white wine in this case. Here’s where you can get creative. Make a champagne-vanilla sabayon, a vodka-espresso sabayon, a lime-cilantro. . . you get the point.
Allow your flavor base to reduce to about half or a quarter of its volume. It should be really tart if you taste it at this point. That’s what we need.
Turn off the heat and leave this reduction to cool completely. We’ll be mixing it later into the egg yolks, and doing that while this liquid’s hot would give you scrambled eggs instead.
Whisk the egg yolks until a bit frothy in a bowl and set it on a pot of simmering water, whisking continuously. The base of the bowl should not have direct contact with the simmering water.
Gradually pour in the reduction while continuing to whisk. Your sabayon should start to thicken up into a custard-like consistency.
Again, in a thin steady stream, whisk in the olive oil or clarified butter.
Take the sabayon out of the heat and fold in some freshly grated orange zest. You may also season with a bit of salt and lemon juice.