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spicy prawns

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Spicy prawns

Prawns used to be me my favourite food, large or small, king or shrimp, shell-on or shell-off, grilled, baked, wrapped in paella rice, pad Thai noodles or even smothered in Marie Rose sauce. I’d invariably order them when eating out, cooked them frequently for weekday suppers and grilled as a skewered staple at barbecues.

With me half the nation, I think, and then it suddenly finished. Prawns lost their glamour - well, okay, lustre. They went out of fashion like a light and in came scallops and pork belly. Ou sont les neiges d’antan? And I must admit I stopped being as keen on them - a faddish fickle woman I must surely be.

It might be because it’s hard (for me at least) to get them spanking fresh, like: off the boat (although it apparently makes them hard to peel if they are too fresh).  And let’s face it - there’s so much food and so little time, you can’t help but change your favourites every now and then.

No longer a favourite but still damn nice if cooked properly, that reads: not overcooked. Two minutes on each side more than enough for kings. This dish has prawns in with their two best mates: garlic and chili, with just a bit of lemon tagging along, as is its wont. Serve in individual cast iron dishes if you have them - it looks pretty. Serve with some crusty freshly baked, a green salad and your lunch or supper is sorted.

  • INGREDIENTS
  • ½ dozen fresh large prawns per person, shell on
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
  • juice squeezed from 1 lemon or 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha or another hot chili sauce
  • salt and pepper

METHOD
Shell-on prawns have more flavour than peeled ones, but you can devein them and make them easier to peel later. Cut the heads off, then make an incision along the back with the tip of a sharp knife, starting from the second shell segment from the tail. Scrape or pull out the intestine, with fish bone tweezers if you have them. Rinse the prawns and pat dry.

How to devein prawns
Melt half the butter in a skillet large enough to fit all the prawns. Add the garlic and let it sizzle. Add the rest of the butter and when it melts pour in the lemon juice and stir in the sriracha.

Add the prawns to the pan and turn the heat up so that they sizzle. Season the prawns with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes; turn them over, season the other side and cook for another 2 minutes until they turn pink. Serve immediately.

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