I'm still reliving the night, 2 months ago, when Mr A&N and I went on a hot date to the local tapas place. No baby! No responsibilities! Fabulous food! It stands out not just for being a great evening but for being the one time my husband and I have been out alone in 8 months. Baby A&N is good enough with other people that he doesn't mind being baby-sat, but the babysitting chances are few and far between. Other friends have their own families to look after, and our parents live far enough away that when they visit, we spend the short time as an extended family rather than ducking out to grab an evening to ourselves. Boo hoo, poor us. We're a happy family, but sometimes you do long for those couple-only times, even if it's only to enjoy nice food without interruption.
Mr A&N is evidently re-living the night out as well, since he came home with a batch of king prawns and an itch to do them up Spanish-style. Prawns pil pil is a regular on tapas menus, a spicy and garlicy dish easy enough to re-create at home. The prawns we had at our tapas place, though, were just that bit better and that bit different from the other versions we've tried. The memory of me returning to the ceramic plate, another piece of bread in hand ("My last bit of bread, I promise - I won't ruin my dinner") chasing around the last drops of oil in the plate...it lingers.
We didn't know what went into the restaurant dish, so we had to riff on the idea of prawns pil pil. We wanted to make sure that even if we didn't recreate what we'd eaten, we'd at least create something we'd be happy eating, which we were. If you do make this, though, consider going through the trouble of shelling your prawns first. Sticky spicy oily fingers might not be everyone's ultimate dinner companion, but they do ensure that any bread you pick up to dip in the oil gets a good coating of flavor before it even reaches the bowl.
Spicy Spanish Prawns with Chorizo
serves 4 as a starter
- 5 Tbs olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 lb prawns (shell off if you have the time and paitence)
- 1 tsb spicy smoked paprika
- 1 small red chilli, chopped or 1/2 tsp already chopped chilli
- 1 Tbs butter and 1 Tbs olive oil
- 4-5 inches of dried cooking chorizo, cut into small bite sizes (I prefer to quarter the circles)
- 2 tsp cooking sherry
- salt and pepper
- Mix the 5 Tbs olive oil, garlic, prawns, paprika, and chilli in a bowl. Set aside for an hour or two to let the flavors marinate.
- Heat the butter and 1 Tbs olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat until the oils are mixed and well warmed.
- Add chorizo and stir around for a minute, until the chorizo just begins to cook and give off oil.
- Add the prawns mixture and stir well, then leave it for a couple of minutes to let the prawns cook on one side.
- Carefully turn the prawns over, and leave them to cook on this side for a couple of minutes, until they're good and pink.
- Add the sherry and give it all a good stir, allowing it to cook for a further minute or so.
- Remove from heat and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with some mighty good bread.