Vichyssoise with Santa Barbara Spot Prawns

Tender, sweet Santa Barbara spots prawns are a gourmet treat. A cool, creamy vicyssoise provides a delicate framework for their flavor.

Servings: 6

Cook Time: 3 hours 15 minutes, including chill time

Pair With: Brander Vineyard Cuvee Nicolas

Source: recipe courtesy of Food Editor Tama Takahashi


Ingredients for the Vichyssoise:

1 1/2 quarts free range chicken stock
3 cups peeled, diced potatoes
3 stalks celery
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/8 cup sherry
3/4 cup heavy cream
salt and white pepper to taste
12 live spot prawns
sprigs of dill for garnish


Note on spot prawns: these Santa Barbara beauties are used in sushi bars for “sweet shrimp” sashimi. The heads are deep-fried to accompany the raw tails. They have a wonderful sweet flavor and delicate texture. Ridgeback shrimp are sometimes sold as spot prawns, but are a different species. You can use ridgeback for this recipe. Spot prawns must be live since they release an enzyme that can make the flesh mushy when dead.

Directions for the Vichyssoise and Spot Prawns:
Put the stock into a large pot. Add the potatoes and turn the heat to medium. Peel the strings off the celery stalks and slice. Add to the pot with the bay leaf and simmer until the vegetables are soft, 40-50 minutes. Strain, remove the bay leaf and set the cooked vegetables aside. Keep the cooking water.

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan with a lid. Sweat the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Remove to a food processor. Let cool, then add the vegetables, sherry and cream. Purée until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can add some of the cooking water to thin the soup, if needed. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or place in a bowl that is nestled in a larger bowl containing ice and water.

Bring the cooking water to a hard boil and plunge the live spot prawns in. Cook for just 30-60 seconds, do not overcook. The flesh should have turned opaque but not be tough. Plunge into a bowl of ice and water to chill, then drain. Remove shells. The spot prawns do not need to be deveined.

Plate the soup. Garnish with dill sprigs. Place the prawn tails attractively next to them.

Recipe Courtesy Of