by Jilly McCord
The great British summer has kept us guessing this year, but here is a dish to bring some sunshine into your life no matter what time of year. These garlicky, spicy prawns originate in Spain where they are served across the country in tapas bars and restaurants. The key to the dish is making sure you have a flavored oil with the garlic and chili, whilst ensuring that the garlic does not burn before cooking the prawns.
If you are a garlic lover, you will appreciate that it can be difficult to keep it at its best. Try a garlic keeper, it can sit out next to your hob and the holes ensure that the air can get in and prevent the garlic from deteriorating. This has been a brilliant addition to my kitchen and alongside the Cole & Mason | Burwell Self-Watering Potted Herb Keeper I got earlier this year, I am minimizing my food waste in a way that I have not found possible in the past. The fresh parsley has been growing contentedly all summer in my herb keeper.
I hope you enjoy the prawns and do give this recipe a go – it is super simple and simply delicious!
Time: 15 minutes prep, 10 minute cook
For the prawns:
- 1kg raw prawns/crevettes (head on if possible)
- 200ml olive oil
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 red chili (or as much as you like according to taste)
- 1 large bunch of parsley
- ½ tsp chili flakes
- 1 tsp sherry vinegar
- Begin by preparing the prawns. Remove the heads from the prawns and set aside in a bowl. Carefully peel the skins from the prawns but aim to leave the tip of the tail on. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
- Before cooking the prawns, make a flavoured oil from the prawn heads (this part is optional, but really does add a depth to the dish). Take the heads of the prawns and in a cast iron pan, fry them in a teaspoon of the olive oil until pink and a little toasted on the outside, now add approximately 50ml of olive oil to the pan and the chili flakes and smoked paprika. Turn the heat down and allow all of the flavors to infuse. After 5 minutes, add 2 chopped cloves of garlic to the oil. Allow to infuse further for a couple of minutes on a low heat. Once this has happened, take a sieve and put the oil mixture and prawn heads into it, catching the flavored oil in a bowl beneath. Use a spoon to mash the prawn heads to extract as much as possible from them. Set aside the bowl and this will be added to the prawns once cooking to create that authentic depth of flavor.
- Prepare your chili by chopping it finely. Thinly slice the remaining garlic cloves. Chop the parsley ahead of time ready to garnish at the end.
- Give the pan a wipe with kitchen roll to ensure it is clean. Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat on a medium high heat. Once the oil is beginning to bubble, add the red chili and cook for a further minute. Now add the prawns and cook until pink (should take around 2 minutes). Try to get the oil bubbling again, then add the 4 cloves of sliced garlic and cook for a further minute. Finally, add the sherry vinegar to the prawn head oil, then add to the pan and mix. The dish is now ready to garnish and serve.
- Garnish with the chopped parsley and some lemon wedges. You can serve as a starter or part of a tapas meal. Make sure you have some crusty bread to go with it to dip in the spicy oil.