The meaty texture of the morels combined with the spicy heat of the Red Curry Butter gives these prawns a delightfully tasty topping!
8 ounces fresh morel mushrooms or 2 ounces dried morel mushrooms
8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
½ tablespoon red curry paste
8 uncooked giant prawns (about 5 oz. each) or 24 large prawns, deveined and butterflied
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Finely chop enough of the fresh morels or reconstituted morels to measure 1/2 cup (packed); reserve remaining morels. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the red curry paste and the morels and sauté 1 minute. If using dried morels, add a few tablespoons of the reserved soaking liquid to the skillet, leaving any sediment behind. Increase the heat and boil this mixture until almost all the liquid evaporates; about 3 minutes. Transfer the morel mixture to a small bowl and let cool completely. Mix the remaining 6 tablespoons butter into the morel mixture. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Using scissors, cut along the back shell of each prawn all the way up to tail, exposing the vein; remove the vein. Turn the prawns over. Using a small sharp knife and starting just below the tail end, butterfly each prawn by cutting a ¼-inch-deep slit to the opposite end. Place the prawns, shell side down, on a rimmed baking sheet.
Preheat the broiler. Spread 1 teaspoon of the morel red curry butter over each giant prawn (or ¼ teaspoon over each of the 24 large prawns). Roast just until prawns are opaque in the center, about 7 minutes for the giant prawns or 4 minutes for the large prawns. Top prawns with the remaining red curry butter, dividing equally. Return to the oven just long enough to melt the butter slightly, about 10 seconds.
While the prawns are cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of the remaining butter and sauté the remaining whole morels and onions until softened. Season with salt and pepper.
[Chef’s Note: Morel mushrooms, with their intricate honeycomb design, attract grit from the earth and require a thorough cleaning. Brush the morels carefully to remove any grit. If they are especially gritty, cover the morels with water in a large bowl and agitate to release any dirt. Then lift out and pat dry. If using dried morels, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the dried morels and remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan and let them steep for about 1 hour. Using a slotted spoon or small strainer, transfer the morels to a bowl. Make sure you reserve some of the soaking liquid for cooking. The easiest way to remove the sediment is to place a coffee filter in a strainer over a bowl and pour the liquid through the coffee filter.]
Transfer prawns to warmed serving plates. Serve sautéed morels alongside.
Recipe and photo by Lia Soscia