The good thing about having friends who love to cook and are competent at it is that I often get wonderful meals prepared at home, in return for a bottle of wine, a bunch of flowers and some good company (I hope).
It gets even better when your friend loves to cook, is great at it and runs his own restaurant. ‘Cos I get to try interesting, seasonal produce imported from the Western hemisphere that may not be easily available to the home-cook, and without having to travel out of the country.
Last week, he brought in a small quantity of ‘carabiniero‘, a large scarlet Spanish prawn that is considered a delicacy in Spain, or so I hear. The carabiniero was lightly grilled on the outside while keeping the interior slightly raw, served with a richly-flavoured prawn broth and a very tasty pile of cabbage and onions. It is a shame that the lighting in the restaurant was too dim for me to take a decent photograph of the dish with my iPhone.
The prawn is very sweet and succulent, with plenty of creamy orange roe oozing out of the head. The texture of the prawn is not much different from that of ebi sashimi – creamy and slightly ‘sticky’. So if you like ebi sashimi – which I totally adore – you will enjoy this dish.
Lucky for me that the husband does not quite appreciate seafood that is not thoroughly cooked so I got to enjoy most of the ‘carabiniero‘. Ignoring all the health-warnings flashing in my head, I happily sucked all the orange gunk out of the prawn head and slurped up the broth. If it wasn’t for the pretty hefty price tag attached to this dish, I would not have thought twice about ordering another portion. I am crossing my fingers that he will bring in this dish again.
When I visit Spain, hopefully soon, I will be watching out for this scarlet creature on restaurant menus.