Eggnets with Prawns
It’s now been a few months since our dear friend Nigel Watson died. On the internet forum “northcyprusforum.net”, launched and mainly operated by him for a long time, there is a section that was very close to his heart, cooking recipes. Under the pseudonym “Chef”, Nigel published a whole range of tasty recipes, some of which I want to call back to life. Readers being interested in “northcyprusforum.net”, please click the link before and become members of the forum.
Getting the nets right isn’t easy, but if you’re after a challenge and a bit of messy fun, this is the dish for you. I know beating the eggs way in advance sounds completely impractical, but the protein breaks down during this resting time, making it possible to get that beautiful lacy look. When I don’t have the time, I simply beat some eggs and use them to make thin, crêpe-like omelettes instead.
Ingredients (serves 4)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
Light-flavoured oil, for frying
Handful coriander sprigs, stalks finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2cm ginger, peeled and grated
1 lemongrass stalk, tender inner core only, finely sliced
250g/8oz raw peeled prawns, sliced in half lengthways
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 red chilli, sliced
3 shallots, sliced
Handful mint leaves
1 small cucumber, cut into chunks
Strain the lightly beaten eggs over a thin sieve then season lightly with salt. Cover and keep chilled for four hours or overnight.
To make the egg nets, heat 3 tbsp oil in a 20cm-23cm non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Wash your hands well and dip the tips of the fingers of one hand into the eggs. Lift your hands and drizzle the mixture over the pan, zig-zagging backward and forward, then side to side to make a net. Drizzle some eggs in a circle around the edge of the eggnet, to make a border. Once set, lift the net to a serving plate with a palette knife. Repeat with the remaining egg, to make four nets. Set aside.
For the filling, heat 1 tbsp of oil in the frying pan, add the coriander stalks, garlic, ginger and lemongrass and fry for 1 minute. Add the prawns and cook, stirring, until the prawns turn pink. Remove from the heat and stir in the fish sauce and sugar. Tip into a bowl and toss in the beansprouts, chilli, shallots, mint and coriander leaves. Spoon down one half of the nets then carefully fold over the other side to enclose the filling. Serve with the cucumber.