King Prawns in Garlic Butter

MainsRecipe by Costas Milas

This is a very simple but delicious dish inspired by the flavourful little tapas plates of Spain. Simple but quality ingredients combined to create something suitable for both a mid-week quick supper and a weekend dinner party. Juicy, garlicky Prawns with crisp, charred Crosta & Mollica Pane Pugliese bread to mop up the juices.

Cook time:
10 mins
Prep time:
15 mins
Serves:
2

Pick your Prawns

I highly recommend you use large, shell-on King Prawns. It will of course work with a ready peeled pack of raw King Prawns, but you won’t have the added flavour that the shells give, and I love the ones that often come frozen. They are much larger and tastier than their fresh counterparts and having a pack in the freezer means they can be defrosted, prepped and cooked in no time at all. If using the smaller, ready peeled ones, I’d recommend doubling the quantity of Prawns. Give the shell-on ones a go. I’ve added some tips for peeling them which should hopefully make things easier too.

Method

  • Step 1

    Start by prepping the Prawns. It might seem really daunting to peel and de-vein them but it’s actually really easy: take a prawn and first, remove the head by pulling and twisting it away from the body, you’ll notice it has a lose joint and is easily removed. Keep hold of the head for later! 

  • Step 2

    Then, starting from the top of the body where you’ve removed the head, carefully take the legs and pull them away with an upwards motion to remove them along with part of the body shell. You’ll find that the shell is like a little coat of armour that can be removed piece and piece. Keep doing the same moving down the body of the prawn BUT try to keep the last little bit of the tale intact. Completely optional and won’t affect the flavour. It just makes them look nicer and more fun to eat with your fingers!

  • Step 3

    Once all the shell is removed, take the peeled prawn with its back facing up towards you. Carefully take a knife and run it all the way down the back of the prawn cutting in about half a centimetre. This will not only “butterfly” it, which will make it look amazing as it cooks and help it take on more flavour but allow you to be able to take out the vein running down the back of the Prawn. This is the intestinal tract which isn’t harmful to eat but can be gritty and is literally the waste of the Prawn so not the nicest! Take the tip of the knife, put it under the vein and lift it out. You should find it pulls out in one piece. 

  • Step 4

    Repeat with all the prawns and then give them a wash and dry them on some kitchen paper ready to cook.

  • Step 5

    Next, prep the Pane Pugliese bread. Take a clove of garlic or two (that you’ll use later), peel it, cut in half and rub the cut halves all over both sides of the bread to give it a lovely hint of garlic. Once this is done, grate the garlic and keep to one side.

  • Step 6

    Chop your Cherry Tomatoes in half and finely chop the Parsley. 

  • Step 7

    Drizzle a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil over both sides of the bread (keep your thumb over the end of the bottle to help control how much comes out!).  

  • Step 8

    Put both your pans on the heat. (High heat for the griddle pan to ensure well coloured bread and medium for the frying pan to not burn the garlic and butter). Add a tsp of olive oil to the frying pan (don’t add any to the griddle pan)

  • Step 9

    Add the Butter to the frying pan and melt. Then add the grated Garlic and stir to stop it burning. 

  • Step 10

    Add the Prawn heads and stir around the garlicky Butter giving them a squeeze to release their juices, which will add so much flavour and colour! 

  • Step 11

    Add the Cherry Tomatoes and stir them through too. 

  • Step 12

    The griddle pan should now be super-hot so add your Pane Pugliese bread and press down to help get the desired char marks. Keep a close eye to flip the slices whilst you finish your prawns!

  • Step 13

    Add the Prawns to the pan, season with Salt and Pepper, add a pinch of Chilli flakes (if using) and a squeeze of Lemon juice. 

  • Step 14

    Check and flip your Bread and if your griddle is small, keep cooking the other slice(s)

  • Step 15

    When the Prawns have turned fully pink on both sides and the butterflied edges have curled up beautifully, turn off the heat and add the chopped Parsley keeping a little back to garnish. Mix carefully.

  • Step 16

    Serve the Prawns and Tomatoes with the charred Pane Pugliese. Either pile them on top or use to mop up the pan juices. Feel free to add more Parsley, Chilli flakes, Lemon and Pepper as you eat.