Thursday, August 16, 2007

Eating In: Grilled prawns with corn-tomatillo salsa

Clare and Madeline came to visit Ruby and me last Friday afternoon. It's adorable watching the girls play together, especially since Clare and I have known each other since our Bellarmine days. It sort of amazes me that now, as moms, we're watching our own little ones play together.

We decided to pack the girls into the car and head to the Madison/Madrona farmers market (every Friday from 3-7). It's not my favorite market, but I'm partial to my local Columbia City one. And hey, going to the farmers market is always more fun that not going to the farmers market. We didn't know what we were going to cook for dinner, or even if Clare would be able to stay long enough, so I just grabbed what I thought looked good.


I don't really eat corn when it's out of season, but when it's in season I'm all over it. I grabbed four ears. Then I spotted some tomatillos. I remembered reading Matthew Amster-Burton's piece on tomatillos (read more by MAB on Roots & Grubs) and thought, well, what the hell! Let's give 'em a shot. I took four of those too.

Madeline isn't a huge fan of her stroller. Actually, that's an understatement. If you remember when Jeff Van Gundy lunged at Alonzo Mourning's leg in this infamous scene, you'll get the idea.

I kid! But she does hate it, so we did our best to distract her by giving her little sample slices of the awesome peaches that grow here in Washington (which more than rival those from Georgia, y'all). I quickly grabbed a loaf of the Campagnole from the dreadlocked guy at Tall Grass Bakery, and by then Ruby was starting to get heavy in the front pack (she hates the stroller too!) so we headed back to our house.

We hadn't even had a glass of wine yet and it was 4:30 on a Friday! So we had some catching up to do. We opened a bottle of prosecco, sat on the deck and watched the little ones play. Then, slightly buzzed, I got to work in the kitchen.

We had a bag of frozen, cleaned prawns in the freezer, so I threw them into some water to defrost. Then I cut up four roma tomatoes, crushed four cloves of garlic and added both to about two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. The idea is to kind of create a garlicky tomato paste without browning the garlic. After a couple of minutes I added a little cumin and a touch of smoked paprika to the mix, then grabbed flat-leaf parsley, basil and chives from the patio planters, chopped them and set them aside. I cut the corn from two cobs of corn and chopped two tomatillos and added that to the tomato-garlic mix.

When the prawns were defrosted enough I grilled them, then I turned off the heat on the corn mixture, added the prawns and the fresh herbs plus a few red pepper flakes, and let it all continue to cook off the heat in the pan.

And that was it! Sweet corn, fresh herbs, grill-y prawns and smokey from the dash of smoked paprika, this was just exactly what we wanted on a hot summer evening. We cut the bread and dipped into the sauce on the prawns. Yum.

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