“Renewing everyday cooking with modern ingredients and global inspiration” is the aim of Anna Hansen, owner and chef at The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell, where these words are deliciously realised in culinary form.
Raised in New Zealand and trained and since based in London, Hansen honed her business skills when she co-pioneered the highly regarded Marylebone restaurant The Providores in 2001. By 2005, however, she had set her sights on going it alone, a dream which finally materialised when she opened The Modern Pantry in August 2008. Critically acclaimed and widely popular from the outset, the restaurant has been steered from strength to strength by Hansen’s dedication and distinctive cooking philosophy, culminating in her latest accolade: an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.
Now our latest Recipe contributor, Hansen has selected her Sugar-cured Prawn Omelette with Smoked Chilli Sambal – also featured in The Modern Pantry Cookbook – for our delectation. On the dish Hansen enthuses: “To me, it has the perfect balance of flavour, texture and aroma and I think it truly reflects my approach to cooking. It is a versatile dish, it can be eaten at any time of the day: in fact, it's on the menu at The Modern Pantry for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Once the prawns are marinated it takes only five minutes to make; it's super tasty and reminds me of my travels in South East Asia."
"It is a versatile dish, it can be eaten at any time of the day: in fact, it's on the menu at The Modern Pantry for breakfast, lunch and dinner."
Anna Hansen: "(To serve 6) To sugar-cure the prawns, mix all the ingredients together well, then cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours. Rinse the prawns and pat dry. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. They should keep for six days.
For each omelette, whish two eggs together in a small bowl with ½ teaspoon of the sambal (available from The Modern Pantry). The sambal provides the seasoning, so avoid the urge to add salt. Heat a knob of butter in a non-stick omelette pan over a moderate heat. When it begins to sizzle, add six prawn halves. Toss these in the pan until almost cooked, and then pour in the eggs. Swirl the pan once or twice, then reduce the heat and sprinkle over some green chilli rounds and a small handful of spring onion slices.
When the eggs look almost cooked, use a flat, heatproof rubber spatula to fold the omelette in half. Slide onto a plate and keep somewhere warm while you make the remaining omelettes. To serve, garnish with coriander leaves and a spoonful of the sambal.”
Tomorrow night Anna Hansen and Margot Janse will be cooking the final dinner in the Girls' Night Out series at London's 1 Lombard St.
Text by Daisy Woodward