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Bouquet Prawn Skewer with Olive Oil, Champagne, Basil, Rosemary & Dill

by Marcel Biró & Shannon Kring Biró

In this four-part series, we’re sharing our favorite recipes that take the unmistakable flavor of celebration from the flute to the plate.  Last month, we shared a recipe for a spectacular amuse-bouche, Champagne Sorbet with Lemon, Mint & Red Peppercorns.  This month, an appetizer that’s substantial enough to be presented as an entrée:

Bouquet Prawn Skewer with Olive Oil, Champagne, Basil, Rosemary & Dill

As I mentioned on the episode of The Kitchens of Biró that featured this appetizer, skewers can be fashioned from metal, wood, plastic, and even porcelain.  I most often use bamboo or edible skewers, such as in this recipe, where I use rosemary sprigs as skewers.  The rosemary sprigs not only perfectly hold the prawns during the cooking process, they more importantly infuse the shellfish with flavor from the inside, which when combined with the herbs and Champagne brushed on their surface, yields an incredible flavor. 

Rosemary skewers are also great with pork, veal, lamb, or game. 

Serves 4

16 blue or tiger prawns
8 sprigs rosemary
8 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1 ounce chopped basil
1 tablespoon chopped dill
2 tablespoons Champagne
2 cups mesclun greens

  1. Clean the prawns, keeping the tail on. 
  2. Remove all but the top quarter of blooms from the rosemary sprigs.  Reserve the blooms.  Skewer the bare end of the stalks through the prawns, placing 2 prawns on each skewer.
  3. Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan and sauté the shallots until glossy.  Add the prawn skewers and sauté on both sides until they become reddish, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the prawn skewers from the pan and reserve the pan and drippings.  Add the remaining olive oil, basil, dill, and the reserved rosemary blooms to the pan and cook for 1 minute.  Pour in the Champagne and remove from heat.


Place mesclun greens in the center of each serving plate.  Top with 2 prawn skewers each and drizzle with the herb-Champagne mixture.

Quick Tip: Cleaning shrimps or prawns
Most home and aspiring professional chefs I teach know how to remove the shell from a shrimp or prawn but stop before it’s truly clean.  Here’s how to do it right.  Begin at the shrimp’s legs, as it’s the weakest point of the shell, and pull it off.  It will usually come off in segments, rather than one or two pieces, so repeat this process until all the shell is removed.  At our restaurants, we don’t ever discard the shells, as we use them to make stocks and soups and even to infuse oils. 
Now is your time to make a decision.  Will you leave the tail on or remove it?  For a dish like this one, or for a finger food, I like to leave the tail on so the guest can use it to hold onto during eating.  If you’re going to remove the tail, do so now by simply pulling it off.   We’re not done yet, as the intestinal vein must now be removed, and this is a step that’s often overlooked.  The intestinal vein is the dark grey or black thread that can be found on the shrimp’s spine.  Using a knife, score the shrimp’s spine and pull the vein out, removing any other dark spots you may find near the vein.  Now rinse the shrimp under cold water to remove any remaining dirt, and you’re ready to go. 




© Marcel Biró and Shannon Kring Biró. Adapted for Sally’s Place from  Biró: European-Inspired Cuisine cookbook (Gibbs Smith 2005). All rights reserved.

Photo credit Marty Snortum.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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