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One French word: vapeur, a French recipe: légumes du jardin et crevettes vapeur

Vapeur, feminine noun (la vapeur, une vapeur, des vapeurs) = steam (pronounced vaa-per, no s heard in the plural)

Cuire à la vapeur = to steam; repassage vapeur = steam ironing; un train à vapeur = a steam train.

My recipe for today : légumes du jardin et crevettes vapeur.

You may use freshly picked garden vegetables for this recipe, but if they are not in season, there is nothing wrong with good quality frozen vegetables: tender little beans, peas and spinach, probably grown and frozen in your own country, better than out of season vegetables flown in from far off lands. And I used raw frozen prawns. Some things are not as good when frozen (surgelé). All these ingredients, however, freeze well, keep their flavour and are just as presentable as fresh. There is no shame to taking this kind of shortcut!

Steamed prawns and garden vegetables

The pepper makes this dish look a little “sandy”!


You will need for 4 people:

  • 250gr frozen french beans, the most tender you can find
  • 250gr frozen baby peas
  • 150gr baby spinach leaves, frozen not whole but in little cubes or lumps
  • 500gr frozen prawns, raw and shelled, with their tails left on (or 800gr fresh prawns with their shells, but they must be raw)
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper
  • Lemon or lime wedges



  1. If you are using fresh raw prawns, remove heads and shells, leave the tails on (it makes for a more interesting display).
  2. You may use all the ingredients just out of the freezer, still frozen. In a multi-storey steamer, place the prawns in the top tier, and the mixed frozen peas and beans, topped with chunks of spinach at the bottom. Put the lid on and steam until the prawns are thoroughly cooked and pink and the vegetables very hot (about 15 minutes).
  3. If you do not have a this type of steamer, place a colander or a large sieve over a pan of water so that the water does not touch the food. Bring the water to the boil. Arrange the prawns on top of the vegetables. Place a large saucepan lid over the food and steam for 15 minutes.  You may need to turn the prawns over once during cooking.
  4. Arrange on warmed serving plates, topped with a little freshly ground white pepper, some sea salt flakes, and a wedge of lemon or lime.

This is a light, healthy dish, full of flavour, that does nicely for supper and is quickly prepared when you get in from work, for instance.

Bon appétit.


About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

8 responses »

  1. Hiya, that looks yummy! I’m gonna see if I can make that for dinner this week! It’d be something light and different! :)
    Have a great day!

  2. Wow, does this recipe look good. I find what a difference in quality various French beans have; can be like night and day. There are ones with large, hard seeds in them, tasting like little tubes of cardboard, or there are the brand new, freshly picked delectable green beans. Of course, cannot get those year round. My CSA box has them during the summer.

    • Yes there is an enormous difference in quality, the best solution being of course to pop out to the garden and just pick a handful of what you need! But if you can find a good frozen variety in which the quality does not vary, that’s good too.

  3. marshmallowfluffxo

    looks yummy!

  4. originalapplejunkie

    Love, Love LOVE prawn :D


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