Gastronomixs

Prawn with salt rock and herbs from Montgó

This month's guest chef is Quique Dacosta, well-known for his three-star restaurant of the same name. In addition to this restaurant, he also has a restaurant in Valencia called El Poblet* as well as two bars. He began his career washing up, after which he became a chef at El Poblet in Denia, the restaurant that now bears his name. For several years now, he has been one of the world's top chefs, combining regional Spanish cuisine in his restaurant with radical avant-garde ideas. His dishes are minimalist and each has a unique story to tell. He often uses products like rice, aloe vera, and microgreens.

This is the evolution of a dish or of a method for grilling prawns, typical of the first era at El Poblet between 1980 and 1990. It comes out of an idea for an edible salt crust that would also serve as a cooking method. This way, the blast of heat from a hot pan is tempered, which otherwise can damage the peeled crustacean’s delicate meat. This is the reinterpretation of a classic, with adjustments in the minutest details to make it a perfectly balanced dish with precise degrees of doneness to respect the strength of the main ingredient: the prawn.

Creation by Quique Dacosta, Quique Dacosta*** restaurant, Denia, Spain.

Prawn with salt rock and herbs from Montgó

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Ingredients

4

 

Denia red prawns (about 60g each)

 

 

Arbequina olive oil

 

 

Maldon salt

5

 

free range chickens

2

 

heads purple garlic

4

 

ripe lemons

16

l

mineral water

 

 

saltwort sprouts

 

 

red shiso

 

 

green shiso

 

 

garlic flowers

 

 

curled chives

 

 

pennyroyal leaves and flowers

 

 

fairy thimble flowers (Campanula cochleariifolia)

 

 

lemon zest

500

ml

prawn stock (see above)

30

g

salt

70

g

tapioca starch

600

g

prawn stock (see above)

10

g

albumin powder

8

kg

mantis shrimp

2

kg

red Denia prawn heads and shells

2

kg

shrimp heads

30

l

water

Preparation method: prawn stock
  • Sauté the crustaceans in a pan without letting them brown too much.
  • Cover with the water and cook at 90°C for 12 hours, skimming continuously, until you have 15 litres of stock.
Preparation method: prawn salt
  • Combine all of the ingredients cold and bring to the boil, stirring continuously until you have a firm, homogeneous paste.
  • Spread onto a sheet and dry in the oven for 1 hour at 110°C.
  • Set aside in a dry place. 
Preparation method: chicken jus
  • Slowly roast the solids in the oven.
  • Once roasted, remove the fat and transfer them to a pot.
  • Cover with the water and simmer over low heat until reduced to 3 litres of jus. 
Preparation method: prawn meringue
  • Mix the two ingredients well and transfer to a siphon with two gas charges.
  • Refrigerate.
Preparation method: the prawn
  • Brush the prawn tail, peeled but with the head still on.
  • Salt and roast at 120°C and 12% humidity until the centre temperature reaches 42°C.
Finishing & presentation
  • Trace a ribbon of chicken jus across the plate, the same length as the prawn.
  • Place the roasted prawn on top of the jus.
  • Cover half the head and part of the tail with the prawn meringue.
  • Using a blowtorch, caramelise the meringue.
  • Dust with plenty of prawn salt.
  • Garnish with the sprouts, herbs, flowers, micro-vegetables, and lemon zest.

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