Traditionally, in Creole cooking they have an ingredient called Tasso ham, referring to a pork product, that is cured in a blend of spices and used to flavor gumbo’s and jambalaya alike. In this recipe, I use the same spices but switch out the protein from pork to prawns, another Louisiana specialty from along the gulf. This recipe was originally designed to be used along with bacon for The Re-Invented Wedge Salad, making Tasso Cured Prawns, but can be used in a Po’Boy sandwich, served as is with a slice of lemon an a ice cold IPA for a bar snack, using in a omelette, as the protein for eggs benedictine or even simply topped on a bowl of steamed rice.
In a medium-sized bowl, add the smoked paprika, chipotle, roasted garlic powder, salt, cayenne (to taste), white pepper, thyme and onion powder; mix together. Add the shelled prawns and toss to coat evenly. Place into the refrigerator for at least 1 - 4 hours to infuse the flavors of the Creole blend fully into the shellfish and also lightly cure the prawns.
To Cook Directions:
In a cast iron skillet or sauté pan over medium high and add 2 - 3 tablespoons of rendered bacon fat or vegetable oil and tilt to coat the bottom of the pan. Then add the Tasso Cured Prawns as the fat starts to smoke. Cook on one side for 2 -3 minutes, then flip the prawns over and cook until they are pink and curl slightly. Remove from the heat and place the cooked prawns on a warm plate to stop the cooking process or the prawns will become tough and chewy.