Venetian-style sweet & sour prawns 


This is a pretty interesting recipe. It’s loosely adapted from a recipe called prawns in saor from Florence Knight’s One book. Florence’s recipe calls for the onions and prawns to be left to marinade overnight to be served warm with bread the next day. That sounds lovely, but not suitable for my dinner, so I adapted it to a hot dish and made a few additions – beans for substance, leeks for fresh onionyness and sultanas in place of raisins because I prefer them.


The resulting recipe can be described as slow cooked melting white onions and leeks, doused in vinegar and middle with sultanas and toasted pine nuts. The tiger prawns are fried simply and stirred in (Florence calls for shallow frying in flour but I’m on a health binge at the mo!). It’s sweet, sour and simple to taste, with the sweet prawn flesh adding a juicy meatiness and the pine nuts addy a woody crunch. Only attempt this dish if you’re a fan of the bold flavour of vinegar.


You will need:

2 large white onions, finely sliced
2 leeks, finely sliced
3-4 bay leaves
6-8 black peppercorns
200ml white wine vinegar
50g pine nuts, freshly toasted til golden
70g sultanas
12 raw tiger prawns, deveined and butterflied
1 320g tin cannellini beans, drained
Extra virgin olive oil



1 – Heat gently 1 tbspn oil in a large heavy bottomed non-stick pan
2 – Add the onions, leeks, peppercorns, bay leaves and a good pinch of salt. Keep the heat down very low and stir often for 30 minutes until the onions have softened completely.
3 – Add the vinegar and the sultanas. Continue to cook gently til the vinegar is mostly absorbed, around 15 minutes, then stir in the beans. Continue to cook for a further 10 minutes or so until the vinegar has all been absorbed/cooked off.
4 – When the onions are nearly ready, season your prawns well and add a little olive oil to a frying pan to heat up. Once hot, add the prawns and fry for a minute or so on each side until just cooked.
5 – Stir the prawns into the onion mix along with the pine nuts. Serve drizzled with extra olive oil.



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