This is equally delightful either as a first course or a main meal. The prawns can be cooked in advance and kept in a little of the cooking liquor to prevent them drying out. However, the sauce must be made at the last moment as it will not stand any reheating.
Peel the carrots, cannelize them, then slice them across into thin discs. Peel the onions and slice them into rounds about the same thickness as the carrots. Trim the white part of the leek and cut this across as for the other vegetables.
Combine the vinegar and the fish stock in a large pan with a tightly-fitting lid and bring to the boil. When boiling, plunge in the prawns, cover with the lid and continue boiling for a further 5-6 minutes. Once the prawns are cooked, remove them from the liquor, drain and allow to cool. Strain the stock through muslin or a fine strainer into a saucepan and set over a high heat. Reduce the stock until just under a quarter of its original volume remains. While the stock is reducing, shell the prawns and remove and discard the dark line that runs the length of the tail.
When the stock has reduced enough, add the cream and the sliced vegetables. Return to the boil, remove the pan from the heat and, shaking the pan continuously, gradually add the butter. Continue shaking the pan until all the butter has melted. Add the prawns and allow to soak in the sauce for about 1 minute – keep the sauce over a very low heat or in a bath of hot water, but do not allow to boil.
At the last minute, add the flat parsley leaves to the sauce. Divide the prawns out equally between the plates, arrange the slices of vegetables across the top and pour over the sauce.
© 1989 Ian McAndrew. All rights reserved.