Olive Oil–Poached Prawns

Anthony Amoroso

Corporate Executive Chef, BR Guest Hospitality, Atlantic City, NJ

This recipe comes from Beard House chef Anthony Amoroso of Michael Mina Restaurant in Las Vegas. The tart punch from blood oranges makes this seafood appetizer a real crowd-pleaser.  


  • 3 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 blood oranges, peeled and juiced, peels and juice reserved
  • 1/2 bunch basil
  • 12 medium size prawns, peeled and deveined with tail left on
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper, plus additional pepper to taste
  • 1 cup blanched almonds, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk or heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup taggiasca or black cured olives
  • 1/2 cup white raisins
  • 1 bunch arugula or watercress for garnish


In a 2-quart heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine olive oil, garlic, the peels from the blood oranges, and basil stems. Reserve the oranges for juicing and basil leaves for garnish. Using a candy thermometer, heat oil to 180ºF. (Be careful not to let the oil exceed 200º or when you add the prawns they will be fried, rather than poached.) Once you have reached the optimal temperature turn off the burner.

Season prawns with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add prawns to oil and allow to slowly poach until they are almost done and slightly translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from oil and set aside.

Combine almonds, milk, and a pinch of salt in a stockpot over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat, and allow to steep for 10 minutes.

Brown butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until fragrant and the foaming has stopped, about 4 minutes. Add the olives, raisins, and blood orange juice. Simmer for 5 minutes and keep warm.

Using a food processor or immersion blender, purée the almond mixture until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble the dish, place a small amount of the almond purée in the center of 4 plates. Use a slotted spoon to remove prawns from oil and drain slightly. Place 3 prawns on each plate on top of the purée. Spoon olive and raisin mixture over prawns and garnish with basil leaves and arugula or watercress. Serve warm.


4 servings