I am reading this new cookery book instead of doing my stinky VAT return. It's about the food of Portugal (which I hold in high regard) and in this particular recipe, the writer's talking about a lovely small town where Rob and I once had an idyllic holiday, halfway up a mountain, surrounded by lemon groves (though the villa was owned by a hairy nudist so I didn't like sitting on the chairs). I really could eat these prawns for my lunch now. Though I'd settle for the whisky.
Prawns with Piri Piri, Whisky and Lemon by Tessa Kiros
Tavira is a wonderfully sleepy, ancient town in Portugal's south. I ate this one night in a small restaurant there and it was so lovely that I asked the lady how she made it. This makes a perfect starter before a main course of grilled fish.
400g raw prawns
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
ground piri piri
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
3 - 4 tbsp whisky
juice of 1 small lemon, plus extra lemons to serve
Remove the heads from the prawns but leave the shells on the bodies, make a shallow cut down the back of each one so they take in the flavour of the sauce and de-vein them. Rinse and pat dry.
Heat the oil and half the butter in a large non-stick saucepan until very hot and sizzling. Thrown in the prawns and bay leaves gradually, trying not to lose the heat, so the prawns get crusty and golden. Toss the pan and season with coarse salt and pepper. When the prawns are nicely golden on bth sides, add the garlic, parsley and as much piri piri as you like, the paprika and the last of the butter.
Toss until you can smell the garlic, then add the whisky. When it's been absorbed, add the lemon juice and toss it all together. Let it bubble for a moment, then use a slotted spoon to lift the prawns onto a plate.
Add about 4 tablespoons of water to the pan and let it bubble up to thicken the sauce. Remove for the heat, return the prawns to the pan and toss through the sauce. Serve with some bread for the sauce and a lemon wedge or two.