Olive-Oil Fried School Prawns with Crispy Herbs and Biancoperla White Polenta

Recipe from Nino Zoccali's cookbook Venetian Republic

In and around the lagoon, schie (known to many as school prawns) are really, really small. They're just delightful, and this dish is an absolute crowd-pleaser. If you're not able to find schie, any baby or school prawns will create delicious results -- just try to keep them bite-sized. Eat them whole and enjoy the crunch!

Olive-Oil Fried School Prawns with Crispy Herbs and Biancoperla White Polenta


PREP TIME 15 minutes

COOKING TIME 55 minutes


130 g (⅔ cup) Biancoperla white polenta (any quality white polenta can be substituted)

100 g (3½ oz) butter

Olive oil, for deep-frying

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) schie (school prawns or bay shrimp), whole and unpeeled

Plain flour, for dusting

2 handfuls picked mixed herbs (Italian parsley, sage, marjoram)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


To make the polenta, bring 800 ml (3¼ cups) salted water to the boil in a large pot. Add the white polenta slowly in a constant stream, stirring continually.

Turn the heat down to low and cook for 45 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the butter to the polenta and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Heat the olive oil to 180°C (350°F) in a deep fryer or a deep pan.

Toss the prawns in the flour and shake off any excess flour. Add the prawns to the hot oil, cooking for 3 minutes until crisp, then drain on paper towel, and season with salt and pepper.

Using the same pan, fry the picked herbs in batches, for approximately 30 seconds per batch or until crispy. Drain on paper towel.

Serve the fried prawns on the polenta, garnished with the crispy herbs.