JP McMahon: These Dublin Bay prawns with stout are delicious and simple to make

My recipe for langoustines with stout and malt extract is inspired by the old city’s fisherwomen

Dublin Bay prawns have a long history in Ireland. Photograph: Getty

Dublin Bay prawns have a long history in Ireland. Photograph: Getty

 

Dublin Bay prawns, aka langoustines or Norwegian lobsters, have a long history in Ireland, particularly in Dublin, where they were hawked by fishmongers in the streets. The idea for the recipe below arose from stories of fisherwomen of the early 19th century who cooked and sold langoustines on the streets of the capital.

According to the Irish food writer Theodora Fitzgibbon, langoustines arrived in Dublin from Norwegian boats that moored in Dublin Bay. With the money from selling the langoustines, it is said, the fisherwomen would buy stout and linen. In this recipe I reduce the stout with malt extract and use as a glaze and dipping sauce. Its strong, sweet malty character complements the salty succulence of the poached and grilled prawns.

Langoustines with stout and malt extract

In a medium pot, place one bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, one chopped onion and one whole garlic clove. Cover with 1 litre of stout and add 50g of malt extract. Bring the stout to the boil and reduce heat.

Poach 16 langoustines in salted boiling water for two minutes each. You may need to do this in batches. Plunge the cooked langoustines into iced water and allow to cool. Peel and shell the langoustines and return as many shells as possible to the stout. Bring the stout back to the boil and reduce until about 200ml remains, before straining. Season with salt and malt vinegar. Dip each peeled tailed into the stout. Grill the prawns until nicely caramelised. Garnish the langoustines with a little pepper dulse.

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