Use Your (Prawn) Head! Zero-Waste Prawn Head Oil

Merry belated Christmas! I hope, like me and my family, you enjoyed bucketloads of fresh seafood and prawns or maybe you’re having some for New Years. With all those prawns, inevitably comes lots of leftover prawn heads, tails and shells. In this recipe I’m going to show you how to get the most bang for your buck from your prawns by extracting that rich flavour of the sea into a deep red hued prawn oil. Best of all you only need 4 ingredients. Freeze your prawn bits till you have 1kg or so and simply thaw out in the fridge and drain. Inspired by Christmas, but great anytime you have prawns.

This prawn oil is great tossed through pasta or noodles – use it to flavour a stir fry, curry or cook fried rice or vegetables with it. Drizzle it on soups or seafood dishes for an extra oomph of umami prawny flavour.

My partner Mark and I filmed this recipe as a video. We’re going to try do this for our recipes from now on!


RECIPE
ZERO-WASTE PRAWN HEAD OIL

INGREDIENTS
1 small brown onion, finely diced (keep the skin and ends)
Vegetable oil or other neutral-flavoured oil
1-2kg Prawn heads, shells and tails
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional: Onion skin peels and ends 

METHOD
1. Prepare the prawn heads by tearing up the shells from the head flesh you can also bash them with a mortar and pestle. Make sure there’s no poop chutes (otherwise known as the prawn poo veins)!

2. Heat a deep pot on medium heat. Add a splash of oil, then toss in your diced onion and salt. Cook for approx 5 min, stirring occasionally until softened and translucent.

3. Increase the heat to medium high. Add the prawn heads, onion skin and ends and cover them half way in vegetable oil. 

4. Cook them for approximately 30-45min, until the oil is reddy/orange in colour. Stir and crush the heads/shells with a wooden spoon periodically to release flavour.

5. Strain into jars. Allow to cool and store in the fridge. It lasts for a couple of months (if you haven’t finished it before then!).

OTHER PRAWN HEAD & SHELL USES
– Prawn stock – You could also simmer prawn heads and shells with water to make a flavourful stock. Great as a base for seafood dishes, pasta sauce, tom yum soup, ramen, risotto and as a general flavour enhancer in stir fries, veggies, curries and noodle dishes. 
– Crunchy prawn heads – Season self raising flour with salt and coat the cleaned prawn heads. Deep fry for a few minutes till crisp and golden right through. Eat with a chilli sambal or sweet chilli sauce to dip.

What are your favourite uses for prawn shells and heads?

Cauliflower stem and leaf pizza with egg

Cauliflower leaves make an excellent pizza topping

Cauliflower leaves are quickly becoming my go-to zero-waste staple. This non-traditional pizza recipe came about when I ran out of baby spinach but was craving a spinach and egg pizza. The closest thing I had in the crisper was a whole cauliflower + extra cauliflower leaves (everyone left them behind at the grocers, so I sneakily grabbed a handful and put it with my cauliflower bag hehe). I thought…I COULD USE CAULIFLOWER LEAVES!

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I was going to use tomato paste on the base but decided to use kale stem pesto because I had some fresh. I usually make a big batch and keep some in the fridge, then freeze the rest in sheets so I can break off the amount I need. You can also just use readymade, but if you want to give it a go here’s my recipe for kale stem pesto.

Kale stem oesto spread on a pizza base

It’s pretty easy. Seperate the leaves and stems, cut the stems into small pieces and baked quickly to soften a bit, then pop it on a pizza base spread with kale stem pesto (my recipe here, you can also use store bought). Add a few other bits and pieces, pop it back in the oven, add your egg towards the end and there you have it! YOUR OWN. PERSONAL. PIZZA.

All the ingredients below can be subbed for whatever you have available…I just used what I had for this very last minute pizza. For the cheese go ahead an use something fancier like mozzarella or bocconcini (it’ll be better, obviously, but sometimes you just need to offload a few slices of cheese) or scale it back to the tasty cheese slices…nobody will know, not even Instagram. If you don’t have pistachios, almonds or hazelnuts would work just as well. The pizza base I tried happened to also contain cauliflower (Picasso kitchen cauliflower base – a regular base with cauliflower added to up the veg content). It wasn’t bad! I’d buy it again for quick meals like this. It was thin and became nice and crispy. I’d usually have less toppings but my slight distrust of the pizza base and hunger meant I piled it on a bit more.

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RECIPE

EASY CAULIFLOWER LEAF & EGG PIZZA

INGREDIENTS
Cauliflower leaves, 4 large pieces, stems attached
Pre-made pizza base
2 tbsp kale stem pesto (or pre-made pesto alternative)
10-12 kalamata olives, drained
1 tsp capers (optional – can just use a pinch of salt instead)
2 slices gouda cheese, torn into pieces (or whatever cheese you have)
100g pistachios, shelled and chopped
1 large egg
Salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD
1. Pre-heat a fan forced oven to 180°C. Rinse and trim the cauliflower leaves. Pat dry. Line a large oven tray with baking paper and set aside.

2. Pull leaves off cauliflower stems, keeping leaves and stems seperate. Tear the leaves into bite sized pieces. Chop stems into 1cm pieces, halving any large ones, then pop onto your lined baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and 1 tsp of capers and pepper. Toss to coat in oil, place tray in oven for 2 minutes or till stems are beginning to soften slightly (this pre-cooking ensures they’re not undercooked at the end).

3. Spread pesto evenly onto your chosen pizza base using a spoon leaving a bit of a border for the crust edge. Scatter the cauliflower stems and capers, cauliflower leaves and pistachios on top making sure to leave an egg-sized bare circle on the middle of the base for the egg later on (one or two leaves on the circle are ok you just don’t want a mound of things there messing with the egg and popping the yolk). Top with cauliflower leaves and put back in the oven following the packet directions for the pizza base (my thin one required 8 minutes). Halfway through add your cheese on top (still avoiding the middle bare bit).

cheese

4. Meanwhile crack your egg into a ramekin so it’s easier to place it. Take out your pizza and drizzle with a little olive oil (the cauliflower leaves should be crispy, this addition of oil just ensures they don’t burn).
Carefully slide the egg out of the ramekin into the middle ensuring the yolk doesn’t break (no biggie if it does, it’ll just cook quicker). Use a spoon to spread out the egg white slightly to fill any gaps between it and the fillings. Place the olives anywhere the egg isn’t and put back into the oven for 2-3 minutes or until your pizza crust is golden and the egg is just starting to turn white on the edges (without clear bits).

rawegg

5. To serve sprinkle with some chopped pistachios, fresh basil leaves and pepper (there’s probably enough salt with the capers and olives). Season the egg with salt and pepper. Cut into 4 slices, ensuring all bits get a bit of egg/yolk and enjoy!

I’d love to hear your spin on this pizza! What did you add?

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MORE OF MY CAULIFLOWER LEAF RECIPES:
Easy Cauliflower Stem Breakfast Salad

WHAT ABOUT KALE STEMS, YOU SAY?
Save your stems! Easy raw kale pesto