Prawns with garlic, red chilli, coriander and lemon

"This is my take on a classic Portuguese dish. I find myself on a mission to get people to save the part of the prawn that stores the most flavour (the head), which is often discarded during preparation. This incredibly tasty and versatile ingredient can be used as described below, or, for diners who might be a bit more squeamish, it can be saved and boiled in water for a really beautiful seafood stock" Nuno Mendes.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes + 15 minutes sitting time for prawns

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12-15 red prawns or tiger prawns shelled, remove veins but leave the heads on
  • 150ml of very good quality extra virgin olive oil, ideally Portuguese or Spanish 
  • 5 cloves of garlic degermed, sliced lengthwise very thin, ideally with a Japanese mandoline
  • 3/4 long red chillies sliced thin
  • 1 bunch of coriander washed and picked from the stalk, with the stalk chopped to use during cooking (and ends left whole to add as a garnish)
  • Maldon salt, crushed black pepper and smoked paprika to taste 
  • 2 lemons, cut into halves or quarters
  • Toasted or grilled country bread to serve on the side 

Method

Season the prawns with the salt, pepper and paprika and let them sit outside the Fridge for 10-15min.

In the large Crane S4 sauté pan, add the olive oil, the garlic, chilli, coriander stalks and a bit of salt, pepper and paprika. Reduce heat and slowly cook all the ingredients at a low temperature, until fragrant (about 4-5 minutes).

Add the prawns, raise the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes on both sides.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the coriander ends for garnish, take it to the table and serve. Sprinkle with more salt, pepper, paprika and drizzle some lemon juice to taste. In Portugal, we like to squeeze the flavoursome juice of the heads onto the toasted country bread, which we also use the bread to mop up the sauce.