29 August 2012

Gazpacio of red capsicum with prawns

It's hard not to get inspired in Provence. Sometimes I replicate what I eat to the best of my ability, sometimes I ask the chef for the recipe, and others, I take pieces of inspiration from the dish and create something a little more me. This is the first kind, replicated from an incredible gazpacio de poivron avec gambas from La Bastide de Gordes to the best of my ability. 
The rest of my post on Gordes can be found here - the recipe resides below. 

For the soup:
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 red capsicums (peppers)
  • 1 medium continental cucumber (or 2 small lebanese), peeled, deseeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small salad onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp creme fraiche
  • salt, pepper, brown sugar and tabasco to taste

For the topping:
  • 12-16 medium prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 4 slices bread, buttered (preferably baguette)
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced into discs
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh dill and/or parsley leaves
  • squeeze of lemon juice

  1. Grill whole capsicums until blackened, then remove skin and chop. (see note)
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and whizz until smooth, adding salt, pepper, brown sugar and tabasco to taste, then chill for at least an hour, preferably two.
  3. On a high heat on the stovetop, pan-fry garlic in a dash of olive oil. When just going golden, add prawns, salt and pepper and cook for a couple of minutes until flesh is opaque. Set aside to cool, and don't clean the pan yet.
  4. Plate up the soup, placing prawns and crispy garlic wedges and herbs on top, then squeezing lemon over.
  5. Pan-fry the bread, and place on top of the soup. If desired, garnish with pistou (the french version of pesto - but more liquid, and sans Parmesan and pine nuts)

Serves 4 

to grill capsicums, if you have a gas stove, simply light a large burner, and place the capsicum directly on the flame, turning with tongs as it blackens. If you have an electric stove, put the grill on high and place underneath close to the element, turning every minute or so until black. When cool, skin should peel off nicely, and particularly if you have used flame, will have a smokey flavor.

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