Tiger Prawn, Grana Padano & Basil Filo Crackers, Grana Padano Pistou, Winter Salads & Pomegranate Salsa
This is a perfect salad for a pre-Christmas feast because it is bright, light, beautiful and everything can be done in advance. I decided to bake the prawns in pastry, rather than fry them, simply because it is easier and gives you more leeway in terms of timing.
Serves: 4 as a starter; Preparation time: 40 minutes; Cooking time: 50-60 minutes; Difficulty: Moderate
1. Pre-heat your grill to its highest setting.
2. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the butternut squash. Cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds. Lay each half flat and cut it as finely as possible lengthways. About 4mm is perfect. Lay the slices flat, in a single layer, on a large oven tray (if you can't get it all on your grill tray do two batches).
3. Get a small bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil and the sherry vinegar. Whisk together. Season to taste with salt, sugar, pepper and smoked paprika.
4. Brush the butternut slices with about ⅓ of this mixture. Season them with salt and pepper and grill them for 6-8 minutes until well browned and just starting to caramelise around the edges. Keep a close eye on this, as grill speeds vary enormously.
5. Lay the squash slices flat on four large plates. Lay the Grana Padano shavings over the top.
6. Turn off your grill and pre-heat your oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
7. Dry the prawns very well. Cut the underside of each slightly in the centre so that it will sit straight. Wrap each prawn with 2 large basil leaves.
8. Lay 4 sheets of filo out on your work surface. Brush with egg wash. Scatter 20g of finely grated Grana Padano over each sheet. Top with a second sheet of filo pastry. Brush with egg wash. Cut each double sheet into 3 widthways.
9. Roll each prawn and basil leaves in a piece of filo pastry. Pinch the ends so they look like Christmas crackers. Brush with melted butter.
10. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
11. Put the prawns onto a baking tray (you can use the same one you used for the butternut squash) bake for 7-8 minutes until the prawns are just cooked through and the pastry is crisp at the edges.
The Grana Padano Pistou
12. Blend together the ingredients for the Grana Padano pistou.
13. Put 5 sunblush tomatoes on each plate. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and rocket leaves. Spoon over the remaining olive oil dressing and the pomegranate molasses.
14. Put the prawn crackers on the plates. Dot the Grana Padano Pistou around. Serve.
Prep Ahead: The squash can be grilled, and the dressing made at least a day ahead.
Pre-heat your grill to its highest setting.
Using a fan-assisted oven? Click here