By James O. Fraioli / Photography by Jessica-Nicosia Nadler
With spot prawns just about to make their always anticipated annual spring-summer appearance in the Pacific Northwest, I can think of no better way to fire up the prawning season than with these visually stunning shooters. This recipe, from my cocktail book: The New Bloody Mary: Classics, Riffs & Contemporary Recipes for the Modern Bar, is a three-step process loaded with lots of seasonings and spices to impart big, bold flavor in a petite package. But, never fear, the ingredients are still all easily found at your local supermarket. What I love about these shooters is they taste fantastic, and offer succulent nibbles within a cocktail, which makes them a little dangerous because it’s easy to forget they contain alcohol. These savory sips are like a tiny private party for both your eyes and taste buds. So, cheers as we celebrate our region’s wonderful spot prawns!
Spicy Bloody Mary Gazpacho & Spot Prawn Shooters
Lime wedges, as needed
Fresh ground black pepper, as needed, optional
Spicy Bloody Mary Gazpacho, recipe follows
Spicy Bloody Mary Roasted Shrimp, recipe follows
Fresh dill sprigs, for garnish
Rim the shot glasses with the lime wedges and then the black pepper, if desired. Pour the gazpacho into the glasses. Garnish with the Spicy Bloody Mary Roasted Shrimp and fresh dill sprigs. Serve chilled.
Spicy Bloody Mary Gazpacho
Makes about 4½ cups
½ roasted red bell pepper, rough chopped
½ cucumber, peeled and rough chopped
1 stalk of celery, with leaves, rough chopped
¼ red onion, peeled and diced
1 pound ripe cherry tomatoes (gold and red), halved
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
½–1 teaspoon Tabasco Hot Sauce
1½ cups Bloody Mary mix
2–3 ounces premium vodka
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a blender, pulse the red bell pepper until coarsely chopped. Be careful not to over blend. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Repeat the process for the cucumber, celery, onion, and tomatoes; blending them each and adding to the bowl. Add to the bowl the garlic, salt, black pepper, sugar, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, olive oil, horseradish, hot sauce, Bloody Mary mix, and vodka. Stir thoroughly to combine. Transfer half the mixture back to the bowl of the blender. Purée until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the puréed gazpacho back to mixing bowl. Mix and adjust seasoning, according to taste, with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 (up to 6) hours to allow flavors to marry. Taste for seasoning again before serving.
Spicy Bloody Mary Roasted Shrimp
1 cup Bloody Mary mix
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon Tabasco hot sauce
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
20 fresh wild-caught spot prawns, peeled, deveined, and tails left intact
In a medium-sized mixing bowl or large Ziplock bag, add the Bloody Mary mix, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Add the prawns and let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring halfway through the marinade time.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Drain the prawns and discard the marinade. Place the prawns, in a single layer, on the sheet pan. Roast the prawns until pink in color and cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Note: You can also grill the prawns on an outdoor grill or barbecue.