Peri-Peri Prawns With Garlic Lemon Butter

Peri-Peri Prawns With Garlic Lemon Butter

These prawns, cooked under the broiler and basted with a hot sauce, are one of my all time favorite seafood recipes. I always like to offer some garlic-butter sauce to pass around the table. And the dish is never right without its sidekick, Portuguese Rice.  The combination of the rice, chili, butter, butter sauces, and shrimp will certainly take you on a memorable journey. And you have my license to suck and chew on the shells- that’s where some of the best flavor comes from. 

  • 32 jumbo prawns (minimum size: 12 per pound)
  • 4 hot red or green (jalapeño or similar) chili peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • Juice of 2 lemons                                                   
  • 8 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Garlic- lemon butter (recipe follows)

1. Butterfly the prawns: Using a sharp, pointed knife, make an incision the length of the underside of the shell. Cut through the underside of the shell, almost all the way through the flesh. Spread the prawn flat. If the cutting exposes a dark vein, pull it out using the knife or your fingers. Be sure to leave the shell on; it will keep the flesh moist and succulent. (Alternatively, have your fishmonger butterfly them for you.)

2. In a food processor, combine the chopped chili peppers, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and cilantro. Pulse until the ingredients form a smooth paste. Place the prawns in a glass dish, rub them all over with the paste, mix well, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

3. Preheat the broiler. 

4. Lay the shrimp in a single layer on a foil-lined baking pan, flesh side down. Broil for 1 minute. Turn the shrimp flesh side up and broil for 1 additional minute. 

5. Meanwhile, prepare the garlic-lemon butter. Transfer it to individual bowls and serve alongside the prawns for dipping.

6. After the main course, it’s thoughtful to bring out some chilled damp towels for everyone to wipe off their hands properly. The towels can be scented with lemon or rosewater.

NOTE: The prawns an be grilled on a barbecue by placing them in a fish basket, and cooking 1 minute per side. 

Garlic-Lemon Butter:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper

Place the butter and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter, whisking constantly, then add the lemon juice. IF the garlic begins to sizzle, lower the heat so that it doesn’t turn brown and bitter. When the butter is melted and the garlic has softened, after about two minutes, and the salt and pepper, then remove fro the heat, stir to mix well, and serve immediately.  

-Colin Cowie

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