PRAWN & NASTURTIUM DOLMA WITH CUCUMBER YOGHURT SAUCE & PICKLED CUCUMBER & SHALLOTS
FOOD & DRINK
SERVES 12 AS A STARTER Nasturtium is abundant at Te Motu, and creating dolma with the leaves seemed such a natural idea. It works perfectly and incorporating the flowers makes it visually vibrant. FOR THE FILLING 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, finely diced 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1½ cups arborio rice ¾ teaspoon salt ¼ cup currants 3 cups simmering water or vegetable stock 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill Heat the oil in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add the rice and cook for a minute then add the salt, a few grinds of black pepper, the currants and the simmering water or stock. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Add the dill and let the rice cool completely. This can be made a day or two before serving. FOR THE PRAWNS 24 large, wild-caught Australian banana prawns (substitute with any large, whole, raw prawns) 48 large nasturtium leaves (substitute with vine leaves or silverbeet leaves) olive oil for baking Remove the prawns’ shells, including the tail, but leave the heads on. Devein the prawns by cutting down the back of each and scraping out the intestine. Make the cuts quite deep to butterfly the prawn bodies. Put in the fridge until you’re ready to roll the dolma. Wash the nasturtium leaves. Bring a wide-based saucepan of water to a simmer and dip the leaves, 4 or 5 at a time, in the water for 3 seconds. Remove the leaves from the water carefully to ensure they don’t tear and put immediately into a large bowl of iced water. Drain the leaves and lie them out flat onto tea towels. They can be overlapped to save space. Place another clean tea towel on your workbench and overlap 2 leaves so that they are about the length of the prawns. Place a prawn on the 2 overlapping leaves with the head just off the leaves. Put about 2 teaspoons of filling along the butterflied prawn body. First fold the leaf over the tail and then roll the entire prawn and filling in the leaf as tightly as you can. The head should be sticking out. Once they are all rolled, keep the dolma refrigerated until you’re ready to bake them. Preheat the oven to 180℃. Put the dolma on a baking tray and drizzle with a glug of olive oil. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the prawns’ heads begin to release their juice. Serve with the cucumber yoghurt sauce and the pickled cucumber and shallots (recipes follow). CUCUMBER YOGHURT SAUCE 1 telegraph cucumber, deseeded, roughly chopped ¼ teaspoon salt 2 cloves garlic juice of 1 lemon 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 sprigs dill 1 cup thick Greek-style yoghurt Put the chopped cucumber in a blender with the salt, garlic, lemon juice, oil and dill. Blend well then pour into a bowl and stir in the yoghurt. PICKLED CUCUMBER & SHALLOTS ⅓ cup sugar ⅔ cup white wine vinegar 1 telegraph cucumber, thinly sliced 3 shallots, halved, thinly sliced Put the sugar and vinegar in a saucepan with ⅔ cup water and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and chill the pickling liquid. Half an hour before serving, pour it over the sliced cucumber and shallots. TO GARNISH (OPTIONAL) fresh dill sprigs washed nasturtium flowers 24 tiny nasturtium leaves dried, crushed nasturtium leaves Pour a couple of spoonfuls of the cucumber yoghurt sauce onto each plate. Carefully lift the prawns out of the baking tray with a fish slice, one at a time, and put two on each plate. Finish with a spoonful of the drained pickled cucumber and shallot mixture and add the optional garnishes of dill, nasturtium flowers, tiny nasturtium leaves and dried, crushed nasturtium leaves.