Mark Hix recipe: Prawn and green bean salad

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

This is a dead-simple salad to prepare. It is also very low-waste, because you use the prawn shells and heads to flavour the oil for the dressing. Of course, as ever, you don't have to if you don't want to, but the salad will certainly benefit from such a taut infusion.

16-20 medium to large raw, seawater prawns with the heads and shells on
150-180g green beans, topped and tailed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the oil infusion

The shells and heads from the prawns
1tsp tomato purée
A good pinch of saffron
A couple of sprigs of thyme
10 black peppercorns
½tsp fennel seeds
500ml vegetable or corn oil

For the dressing

2 shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
150ml prawn oil (as above)
2tbsp cider or good-quality white wine vinegar
1tsp Tewkesbury or Dijon mustard

First, make the oil infusion: remove the heads and shells of the prawns and then put them in a saucepan with all of the other ingredients for the infusion.

Gently heat the oil to about 80C and keep it at that heat for about 8-10 minutes; a simmer plate is great for this. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse and cool for a couple of hours, or preferably overnight.

Strain the oil through a fine-meshed sieve. There will be too much oil for the salad, so keep the rest in the fridge in a sterilised, air-tight jar for use at a later date.

Halve the prawns down the middle of the tail and put them in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water, or white wine, and a good pinch of salt.

Cover with a lid, bring to the boil and remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Cook the beans in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, then drain.

To serve, whisk all of the ingredients together for the dressing and season.

Toss the prawns, beans and dressing together and season to taste.