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Spot prawns roasted in spiced salt

Time 35 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6
Spot prawns roasted in spiced salt
1

Heat the oven to 400 degrees and place a rack on the top third and bottom third of the oven.

2

In a spice grinder, grind the peppercorns, allspice, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and paprika into a fine powder.

3

Place the spot prawns in a large bowl, pour the spice mixture over and toss to combine. Place the salt in a separate large bowl and stir in 1 2/3 cups water so the texture is that of gritty snow.

4

Line two jellyroll pans with foil and spread some of the salt in a layer about one-fourth-inch deep. Divide the prawns evenly between the pans, arranging them in a single layer. Mound the rest of the salt on top, covering them completely in a smooth, even layer.

5

Roast for 18 minutes until the prawns are fragrant and the meat is firm. Remove the pans from the oven and cool briefly.

6

With a sturdy metal spoon or chef’s knife, chip a crack around the base of the salt crust and carefully lift off the top. Use a dry pastry brush to wipe away any salt on the surface of the prawns. Serve immediately with fingerbowls for rinsing.

You can use coarse or fine salt to roast the prawns; fine salt will form a firmer, more compact crust that will be harder to crack after roasting.

Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
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