Grilled Prawns with Sichuan Peppercorn Salt
i did a naughty thing.
last week my husband tromped off to Vegas for a 5-day vacation with this poker buddies.
i had an affair.
i heard the garage door close as he left for the airport. i waited 15 minutes to make sure he didn’t return, in case he forgot something.
i peeked out the window…..
my eyes nervously scanned the street…..
then tiptoed to the back door….
with one hand on the knob and the other pressed against the warmth of the door, i paused briefly to collect my breath. i turned the knob slowly, my toe softly nudged the door open. It was still early, and the morning light reached through the crack of the door to help me open it the rest of the way.
he was waiting.
for a moment, i thought i had heard the garage door again. i turned my head. but no, it was just my jitters playing games. i stepped out towards him and felt my heart flutter with anticipation and longing. speaking was not necessary – we both already knew what was going to happen. nothing was going to get in the way of our union. my hands deftly removed his dark blue, canvas, weather protection jacket and threw it on the ground. i didn’t care where it landed.
how handsome he was….so massively big…..
68,000 BTUs and a side burner, and he was all mine for 5 days…..
Oh, don’t tell me that you guys were thinking it was going to be my lawn boy (cuz I don’t have one!) If you’ve been a regular reader, you’ll know that Husband doesn’t let me touch his outdoor grill. And I totally get that. Because I wouldn’t want him rummaging and rearranging my spice drawer, you know? It’s just a highly personal thing and that is fine.
Our marriage work so wonderfully this way. But….he got to go to Vegas while I stayed home with both kids. Since this particular situation was not covered in our marriage contract, I took the liberty to amend the terms and wrote an addendum.
These guys helped me write the addendum:
My first meal, Grilled Prawns with Sichuan Peppercorn Salt was so deliriously easy and quick that I didn’t even feel a tinge of guilt for using the grill. These were HUGE freshwater prawns that I found in the freezer section at the Asian market.
A 2-pound box of these beauties from Thailand for $16.00!! YEAH! I know! Each prawn was at least 7″ long head-to-tail, not counting the claws. HUGE! Now I know you might not be able to find the same, but feel free to substitute with smaller shrimp – just keep the shell on and skewer them for easy grilling.
If you haven’t tried Sichuan or Szechuan Peppercorn (SZP) (it’s spelled both ways) before, it’s really not a peppercorn at all, but rather a berry from an Asian bush. Put a couple of pods between your teeth and chew – you’ll get a numbing, tingly sensation all inside your mouth and lips.
Contrary to what people think, SZP is not really spicy in your face hot. It has a citrusy, warming and woodsy aroma and flavor. You can find SZP at most Asian markets and some gourmet stores. If you are going to an Asian market where they don’t speak English, it’s best to bring a photo of the packaging in Chinese.
I also have some online sources within Asian Flavored Salts post. Lightly toast the pods and your home will smell wonderfully exotic. Grind with sea salt and you’ve got yourself a very versatile Sichuan Peppercorn Salt. I also added a bit of orange zest to my mixture.
After a quick grill, peel a shrimp and dip just a bit into the SZP Salt. mmmmmm……perfect.
Substitute with 1 pound of jumbo shrimp if you cannot find freshwater prawns.
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 pounds freshwater prawns, shell-on substitute with 1 pound jumbo shrimp, shell-on
- 2 tablespoon whole Szechuan peppercorns
- 3 tablespoons sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Heat your grill for direct grilling, high heat. You want the grill searing hot!
Toss the prawns with the melted butter and sugar. Pierce the prawn with a wooden skewer along the backside of the prawn. This will help keep the prawn straight during cooking. If using shrimp, load a few shrimp on each skewer.
Toast the Szechuan peppercorns in a dry skilled over medium heat until fragrant. Process the Szechuan peppercorns and salt in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Stir in the grated orange zest.
Grill the prawns 2 minutes each side. Serve with the Szechuan peppercorn salt mixture.