Spicy garlicky prawns

Spicy garlicky prawns

Camarao a moda de mocambique

By
From
Lisbon
Serves
4
Photographer
Steven Joyce

Two memories are lodged in my mind when it comes to these prawns. One is of a meal at Mar do Inferno, in Cascais, a town which we visited with my parents and our little daughter. Here, the sea crashes against jagged cliffs just below the restaurant. We tried these messy, delicious, chilli-hot prawns, and our daughter, Isla, then a toddler, tried to eat a whole scoop of ice cream with both hands. The meal was a sticky, happy, silly one.

The second was in Hugo Gonçalves’ sunny garden. His family owns art-deco cocktail bar Foxtrot in Lisbon. (For his drinks) His mother, Maria Helena Gonçalves, or Lena, cooked us a huge pan of wonderful prawns. She adds a warming dash of whisky to her version.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons medium/hot piri piri sauce, plus a pinch of dried crushed chillies, if you really like heat
1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste
2 tablespoons white wine
or 2 tablespoons beer
4 dashes worcestershire sauce
500g shell-on, sustainably sourced large prawns
olive oil, for cooking
a handful chopped coriander leaves, to serve
Piri piri oil, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve
Garlic & coriander rice, to serve

Method

  1. Mix together the piri piri sauce, garlic, white wine or beer and the Worcestershire sauce. Add the prawns, stir until they are well covered in the marinade, cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and place in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  2. When you are ready to eat, heat a large, wide heavy-based pan – cast iron is best – over a high heat. Add a splash of olive oil to the pan and when it is just smoking, use a slotted spoon to lift half the prawns out of the marinade, leaving the marinade behind. Place in the pan in a single layer and cook for 2 minutes, then turn each one. Cook for a minute longer and then, for the final minute of cooking, add half the marinade from the bowl. Let it sizzle and then use a spoon to scoop the whole lot out of the pan and into a bowl. Keep warm.
  3. Repeat the cooking process for the second batch of prawns. (If you cook them all in one go and include the marinade, the prawns will stew rather than brown, and the marinade will burn and stick to the pan.)
  4. Just before serving, stir through the chopped coriander and finish with a dash or two of piri piri oil. Place lemon wedges on the table for your guests to squeeze over their prawns. Eat with a mound of garlic and coriander rice, finger bowls and plenty of napkins.
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