Monday, 10 February 2014

garlic prawns

My housemate Morgan doesn't like seafood, which is a statement so utterly inconceivable to me that I think we probably just shouldn't talk about it. Like, he can't even stand the smell? Weird. Anyway; he was away for a few days at the start of this semester so me & my other housemate, Rosa, basically just lived under the sea for a little while. I can't really think of any better way to start a semester than with a hearty plateful of garlic prawns - simultaneously rich and frugal, with only a handful ingredients and absolutely swimming in butter. This will be my last semester at St Andrews, which isn't a sentence I'm particularly sad about saying because, you know, I've been here nearly 4 years now, and it's very much time to leave. It's a small town, little more than 3 streets, and after about 2 hours here you feel like you've seen all there is to see & met everyone there is to meet. It's so small that you're guaranteed to meet someone you know in the library or walking to lectures; I seriously felt like I was living dangerously when I went to Tesco the other day with wet hair and no make up, and miraculously didn't bump into a single awkward ex. It's usually cold, generally windy, and sometimes I find myself starting to forget what the sun looks like. But it has, in spite of my protests, in spite of my resistance, become a sort of home. So this homely, warm and indulgent dish felt like the perfect way to begin saying goodbye.

This meal is also a nice reminder that you don't need much more than the tried & tested favourites to make something taste great. I've said before (and I'll say it again) that there's no meal that cannot be improved by the addition of garlic, so with ten cloves of the stuff here I think you know you're in for something great. Plus, butter, which - as is best expressed by Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia - is just the Food Of The Gods, and then salt, pepper, lemon juice, a tiny little dash of cayenne pepper... And that's it. And honestly you could probably omit the cayenne pepper if you're not a fan of spice & you'd still have something quite wonderful on your hands. Plus, once you've got your garlic chopped, it barely takes 5 minutes.

To serve 2, you will need:

  • 500g king prawns.
  • 10 garlic cloves.
  • A few tablespoons of olive oil.
  • 1-2 tablespoons of butter.
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
  • A teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • Salt & pepper.

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat.

2. Peel & roughly chop your ten garlic cloves. It doesn't have to be too precise, but they shouldn't be big enough that you find yourself biting into an enormous chunk mid-prawn.

3. Add the garlic into the oil, which should by this point already be hot. Saute for about 30 seconds, until just starting to brown, then add in your prawns.

4. Season with salt and pepper then add in a generous tablespoon of butter and your lemon juice.

5. Cook through for about 2 minutes, until the prawns are starting to shrink down.

6. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Add in some extra butter if you'd like, stir it all together, and serve.

Serve alongside a simple leaf salad & some warmed cherry tomatoes if you're feeling well behaved, or just curl up with a giant bowl of this stuff all to yourself if you feel like it. After all, we all know that "serves 2" is really only ever a guideline, anyway.


  1. I loved this post for so many reasons. For one I felt pretty much the same with my university and its town - I hated the fact that I had to see someone I knew when all I wanted to do was grab some food outside in my sweats and without wearing make up. Plus the whole dating scene gets pretty incestuous which is tiring after awhile.

    and rich + frugal homely food is the best. I love seafood and I love love garlic, and I think some version of this would be quite possibly my ultimate favorite meal. Damn shame though being here in Paris, no one I know here (that I know) even buys garlic - and if they do they get it pre-chopped and frozen and I'm just like, "what the eff this is not even garlic." Actually makes me miss my university kitchen and pantry...

    1. good lord, what?! i had no idea paris would be so anti-garlic! get out of there immediately! i think some kind of garlicy seafood-y thing would be my ultimate meal too, and i give a great deal of thought to that topic. thanks for your comment lady!

  2. What a lovely post, Holly! I've never lived in a town that small, so I can't relate. I think I',m going to miss my town when I move away to uni next year though :--(
    These prawns look wonderful! I love how easy and simple to make they are, but I bet they're super duper flavorful thanks to the addition of garlic (loooove it) and butter ;--)
    Have a nice day! xx

    1. aw thank you consuelo! super exciting you're moving to uni next year though; it's gonna be such an adventure, i promise :)

  3. I have a friend who doesn't like prawns! I can't even begin to understand how such a thing is possible.
    I went to university here in London, so here it's definitely a bit different from a small town!

    {Teffy's Perks} X

    1. haha certainly a bit different! :) thanks for your comment teffy!

  4. Ok I'm going to have to try this recipe. I love both prawns and garlic so there's no reason I wont like them together, right? ;-) xx

  5. Mmm, garlic + butter + seafood = happiness, always.

  6. I love that you added lemon juice here.