If you can’t find prawns, purchase the largest head-on shrimp available for this dish, which came to us from Vitaly Paley, the chef and co-owner of Paley’s Place in Portland, Oregon. This recipe first appeared in the 2012 SAVEUR 100, with the article Paley’s Place.
- 4 lb. Himalayan pink salt or coarse rock salt
- 1⁄3 cup whole star anise
- 1⁄4 cup whole green cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp. whole cloves
- 8 bay leaves
- 4 sticks cinnamon, preferably Vietnamese
- 2 lb. head-on large prawns or shrimp, unpeeled (about 12)
- Melted butter, for serving
- Heat oven to 500°. Combine salt, star anise, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon in a 9″ × 13″ baking dish; bake until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Remove dish from oven; using a large spoon, transfer half the salt mixture to a heatproof bowl. Place prawns over salt in baking dish; cover with salt from bowl. Return to oven; bake until prawns are cooked through, about 8 minutes. Discard salt; serve prawns with melted butter for dipping.