Yesterday I went into the city of Leeds to do a bit of Christmas shopping, but high on my list was a visit to the market and the excellent fish stalls there (they have survived, probably thanks to the Afro-Carribean community which makes the city such a vibrant place). I was after the basis for the first course of my planned Christmas dinner. Unfortunately the rest of the market no longer compares with those in France so this was all I was seeking there.

If you saw my post of a couple of days ago when I outlined the planned menu, you’ll realise there will be quite a lot of work there. When I detail it you could well find there’s even more work than you thought, as I’m going back to classic French cuisine methods and no short cuts (the sauce will take a few hours to make).

For this reason I wanted a first course that was quick and which would provide a massive taste change to the next course. I didn’t want anything cold, but if possible a bit of a Christmas ‘spectacular’. Then I remembered a recent post on My French Heaven which seemed to be just what I was after.

Picture of a plate of raw prawns

I guess for many people they don’t look so appetising like this. To see them in their Christmas colours, which they will assume when cooked, follow the link below to the recipe

I won’t repeat the recipe – just pop over to My French Heaven by following this link: Crevettes au Ricard. Don’t be put off if you don’t read French; Stephane, the author, repeats all his recipes in English.

In fact I couldn’t find Ricard so it will be Pernod. Nor could I find Espelette pepper so I’ll probably use dash of Tabasco, which is about the same ‘hotness’.

So, it’s quick; apart from a few minutes to make the marinade a day before, it’s just five or six minutes on the griddle. It should be ‘spectacular’, as any flambe is. I’ve never flambe’d with Pernod or Ricard before so it’ll also be interesting. In fact I’ve never eaten anything flambe’d in an anis liquor before, but I trust Stephane.

More about the main course later.