Savory prawns in a flash

Spot Prawns with Fennel and Pernod
Serves 4


  • 12 fresh spot prawns (or other large shrimp)
  • 1/2 cup diced fennel bulb (save some tops for garnish)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 teaspoons Pernod
  • Sea salt

Cut the fennel into 1/2 inch dice and cook with 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt over low heat in a small sauce pan for about 15 minutes until tender and barely golden brown. Reserve.

Peel and clean the Spot Prawns. Save the heads to fry if you enjoy them. They are a special treat.

Heat a large sauté pan over full heat with 2 tablespoons unsalted butter until the butter just begins to brown. Add the spot prawns and season with salt. Saute for approximately 1 minute over high heat Theses prawns are very delicate and cook very fast, do not over cook.

Deglaze the pan with and "flambé" with the 4 teaspoons of Pernod. Immediately transfer cooked shrimp to a plate and return the pan to the fire. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of water and swirl in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter to make a light sauce. Remove from heat and verify seasoning. Check both the salt and the amount of Pernod, adjust as necessary.

Arrange the shrimp on top of the braised fennel, pour sauce around and top with a sprig of fresh fennel frond.

La Toque Restaurant, Napa Valley 1140 Rutherford Road Rutherford, CA 94573 707.963.9770

La Toque is relocating to the Westin Verasa Napa Restaurant in downtown Napa in the fall of 2008.

At the new location, Chef Ken Frank plans to host "lifestyle experiences" revolving around single ingredients or specialties. Each January he plans to host a "Truffle Camp," a package that includes overnight stays at the Westin, truffle cooking lessons, and winery visits

For more information on La Toque, visit:

About La Toque:

Long considered one of the best restaurants in America by critics and food connoisseurs alike, La Toque has earned the praise of Zagat's guide, captured a prestigious Michelin star, and was named one of "America's Best Restaurants" by The Wine Spectator magazine. La Toque is equally recognized for its unpretentious and friendly wait staff and extensive selection of fine wine.

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