“Inspired by the great variety of little sandwiches served in bars across Andalucia, I wanted to pair crunchy prawn cakes with sticky tender pork belly for the ultimate tapa. Because the school prawns are left unpeeled for extra crunch, look for the smallest prawns you can find. Garlicky aioli, sweet pork, crunchy prawns, toasted brioche – what’s not to love?” Shane Delia, Shane Delia’s Moorish Spice Journey
- 235 g (1 cup) aioli
- 2 garlic cloves, roasted and smashed (see note)
- 1 lemon, juiced and zest grated
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tsp sherry vinegar
- 8 small soft brioche buns, split
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 kg pork belly, skin on
- 500 ml (2 cups) Oloroso sherry
- 75 g (½ cup) unbleached plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 bunch spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp dried shrimp (see note)
- 250 g small green school prawns
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- smoked Spanish paprika, to taste
- olive oil, for shallow-frying
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 30 minutes
For the pork belly, heat the oil in a pressure cooker over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and carrot and cook for 5-6 minutes or until soft. Add the pork, sherry and enough water to just cover. Secure the lid, then bring to pressure and cook for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally. Remove the lid and transfer the pork belly to a warm platter. Using a fork, coarsely shred the meat.
Meanwhile, to make the prawn cakes, place the flour and eggs in a bowl. Add 100 ml water and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Add the spring onions, onion, parsley, dried shrimp and prawns, then season with salt, pepper and paprika. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat 1 cm of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop 2 tbsp batter into the pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon so they cook evenly. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towel and repeat with the remaining mixture.
Place the aioli in a bowl and stir in the garlic, lemon zest and juice to taste.
Combine the pork, red onion, parsley and sherry in a bowl, then add enough of the aioli to just coat and moisten. Lightly toast the cut sides of the brioche buns. Divide the pork mixture among the bun bases, top with a prawn cake then the brioche lid and serve immediately.
• To roast the garlic, place the unpeeled cloves on a piece of foil and drizzle with oil. Wrap up and roast at 170°C for 1 hour or until soft. Squeeze the softened garlic out of the skins and mash until smooth.
• Dried shrimp is available from Asian supermarkets.
• If you don’t have a pressure cooker, simply prepare the pork in a heavy-based roasting dish, cover tightly with foil, then bake at 160°C for 2-2½ hours or until tender.