Dec 21

Jumbo Cheesy Baked Prawns

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Wow! Today I am doing something reaaaaalllly special and yes, it’s another prawn dish. Prawns are awesome shellfish to cook with because they are versatile and they don’t require too much cooking in order to produce an incredible meal. I like my prawns in a variety of ways, but my favourite would have to be poached, served cold on a bed of crisp lettuce and salad dressing. Is that too 1970’s? Doesn’t matter, prawn salad is a classic — and no one should be ashamed to have it at their table.



Anyway, today’s recipe I borrowed from that other classic crustacean dish ~ lobster mornay ~ which is essentially lobster halves with a white béchamel sauce and cheese topping, grilled until the shell is orange and the cheese has turned into molten goodness. Little ‘ol me however can’t afford lobster, so I am using jumbo shrimps … the biggest ones I could find at the market today. Not exactly sure what these are called, but the sign in front of them at the market adorably referred to them as “Sea Tigers” … hehe … so I can only assume that these are jumbo tiger shrimps.




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This dish will be a crowd pleaser for a number of reasons: 1) it’s not everyday you get to indulge yourself with jumbo shrimps; 2) this dish looks impressive beyond a doubt; 3) the fancy presentation coupled with the rich creamy sauce gives the whole plate a sense of occasion. And the bonus factor would be that it is simple to prepare; far simpler than it looks. The perfect entrée for that elegant dinner party or for special family occasions. Here’s how.





  • Jumbo tiger prawns, 1 – 2 per person
  • 300 mls milk
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 whole clove
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 60 g butter, unsalted
  • 60 g flour
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup grated Gruyere or White Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper




First you’ll need to prepare the prawns in a specific way. Using kitchen shears cut along to back of the prawns, leaving the tail and head intact. Then using a sharp knife, slice the flesh and remove the vein, rinse and pat dry. I think this is called “butterflying” … do this for all the prawns.



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Now place the milk, onion, clove, peppercorns and bay leaf into a saucepan. Heat the milk until almost to the boiling point, then cover and turn off the heat. Allow milk to steep for ten minutes then strain out the bits and bobs.


In a heavy bottomed saucepan melt the butter on medium heat, then add in the flour … standard roux here. Cook out the flour for about 2 – 3 minutes before adding the now cooled infused milk a little at a time. Whisk to remove lumps and then take it off the heat and stir in the cheese. You can use a single kind of cheese or a mixture. I like to use Cheddar + Mozzarella; Cheddar for the sharpness and Mozzarella for the oozy melty factor.


Now spoon this cheese mixture onto each prawn, being careful to keep the sauce in the centre. In a bowl combine some Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Sprinkle this over the top of each prawn, along with a dash of cayenne pepper for colour, and then whack everything under a hot broiler for 8 – 10 minutes. When done, plate up with some salad and wedges of lemon.



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So there you have it … cheesey baked prawns looking all fancy and fabulous and ready to wow the guests. This is definitely entertainment food, designed to draw praise and appreciation from all who lay eyes on it. While simple to put together you will have to make sure the flavours come out spot on, so tasting as you go along with your béchamel sauce is important.



Equally important is to make sure the prawns all lie flat and upright on the baking tray to avoid spillage of cheese sauce. Prawns that curl up while cooking will be almost impossible to plate up later … so if you think you will face curling issues, skewer the prawns with a bamboo stick before broiling. After broiling you can remove the skewer and plate up as normal. To keep the prawns upright you can use crumpled up foil to support the sides of each prawn or simply bake them on a bed of rock salt.



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Well, that’s it for me today with yet another prawn dish. I do realize I post a lot of prawn dishes, hehehe … I must remedy that soon with a fish or squid dish next. I haven’t done a squid dish yet, so maybe I need to get cracking on that one as a matter of priority. I promise there won’t be another prawn post until after I feature a different seafood dish. In the meantime, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I’ll see you all in the new year for more new and exciting posts from me. Thank you for all the support and encouragement from all my readers and family. Lots of love … me.




~ Enjoy ~



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