Holiday appetizer a feast for eye and palate

Here is a bright, festive appetizer course for the holiday season that I am sure you will enjoy. I've prepared this dish on special occasions, including in New York, throughout the year and found it to be very popular. It has all the whips and jingles - both eye appeal and taste sensation.

You will be challenged to find the size prawns needed for this recipe: 6 to 8 prawns per pound. However, if you cannot find them, you can use the typical size (12 to 16 prawns per pound) found in the markets.

If you use these, serve two prawns per person rather than one. The sauce recipe will handle that with no problem. You will probably have sauce left over to use at a later time.

The Tequila Lime Sauce has an interesting combination of flavors - both sweet and spicy. The chipotle chili gives it a slight smokiness.

Speaking of chipotle chilies, these are extremely spicy and come in a small can packed in sauce. After working with these, be absolutely certain you wash your hands thoroughly. Do not touch your eyes or any other sensitive areas.

When preparing this dish, carefully pull out one chili and let the excess sauce fall off. There is no need to rinse it. Then finely chop it.

Also, I emphasize that you use only fresh lime juice. The bottled product gives the dish an entirely different flavor.

We'll match this dish with Dr. L. Riesling from Germany, 2004. We have served this wine with this dish for the annual Carson Valley WINOs Christmas Dinner. Check out the gang at Aloha Liquor and Wine and Ben's Liquor.

In closing, Karen and I want to extend our holiday wishes to you and your family. Don't forget the ones not so fortunate, and adopt a family. Check with FISH or our local churches to see what you may be able to help with.

We would also like to congratulate all the many businesses in Carson City that helped make Thanksgiving a special treat for those in need. Thanks go especially to Mike and his staff at Mike's Pharmacy, the Carson Nugget, everyone at FISH and all of you who helped.

Warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

As always enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Jumbo prawns with

tequila lime sauce

Serves 6

• 1 10-ounce bottle lime marmalade

• 1/2 ounce mojito liquor (Cuban-style, mint-infused rum)

• 5 dashes green Tabasco

• 2 ounces tequila

• 2 dashes fish sauce

• 4 dashes tapatio (chili sauce)

• 1 chipotle chili, finely chopped (no need to rinse them)

• 1 fresh pasilla chili, finely diced

• 2 red jalapeños for garnish, half-moon shape, seeded, cut 1Ú8-inch thick

• 4 limes (2 for fresh juice and 2 for garnish)

• 1/4 pound softened butter

• 1 T. flour

• 6 jumbo prawns (6 to 8 prawns per pound)

In a saucepan, mix lime marmalade, mojito, tequila, green Tabasco, fish sauce, tapatio sauce and lime juice.

Heat over medium-high heat. Be very careful. As the liquid heats up, the alcohol in the two liquors will start to burn off. Let this process continue until you no longer see any flames.

Continue to cook until reduced by 20 percent. Continue to simmer for approximately 1 hour over low to medium-low heat.

Add the finely chopped chipotle chili and pasilla chili. Cook for 20 minutes.

While simmering the sauce, butterfly the prawns by cutting from the top of the shrimp to the tail. Split only three quarters of the way through, spread open, and rinse all of the entrails away; pat dry.

Take a baking pan and coat it lightly with softened butter. Lay the shrimp on the pan with the open side up. Pat a little butter on the shrimp, add salt and pepper, and place 2 slices of red jalapeño on top of each one.

Place in a preheated oven (350 degrees) 15 minutes before serving. The jumbo prawns will take 10 to 15 minutes to cook thoroughly. The smaller ones will take approximately 10 minutes. Each oven is different. You know your equipment better than I do so you may have to adjust the cooking time of the prawns.

While prawns are cooking, add 2 tablespoons butter to another saucepan. Melt the butter (do not burn) and add 1 tablespoon flour and whisk with the butter until completely integrated. Slowly, with a 2-ounce ladle, whisk in the tequila lime sauce until all of the sauce has been transferred to the roux.

Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes and it is ready to serve.

Place 1 cooked prawn on a 6- to 8-inch plate, add the sauce on top, sprinkle red jalapeño around the exterior of the plate for garnish, and add a lime wedge. Enjoy.

Note: This sauce is intended to be light and glossy. Its consistency should be just thick enough to coat t spoon when dipping it into the sauce. It should leave a light film approximately 1/16- to 1/8 -inch in thickness over the spoon.

-- Charlie Abowd is the owner and chef at Adele's. He and his wife, Karen, have lived in Carson City since 1980. Charlie is a fourth-generation restaurateur.


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