Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 mins
I regularly cook these for dinner parties and they remain a firm favourite. I have had to teach numerous friends the recipe and have had the dish cooked for me many times on return invitations. It is important that the prawns are raw, with the heads on, as this is where much of the flavour comes from. Fresh are better, but frozen tiger prawns make a perfectly satisfactory alternative if necessary. Birds-eye chillies are very small, but very hot. During marinading, a small amount of this heat is transferred to the oil and sherry. Be careful not to bite into one of these chilles, though - you will find yourself stuffing your mouth full of bread to numb the burn! I normally serve the dish as a starter, in the pan in the centre of the table and accompanied with lots of fresh French bread for dunking. Wonderfully tasty and typically Spanish.
- 1 kg raw tiger shrimp, shell-on
- 3 whole dried bird's eye chiles
- 1⁄2 lemon
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 300 ml dry sherry
- 300 ml extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Mix a count the olive oil and sherry in a shallow dish. Add garlic, chillies, salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon into mixture.
- Remove shells from prawns. Squeeze the heads into the mixture, place the prawns and heads into the mixture and discard the remaining shells. The squeezing of the heads is a very important step and should not be forgotten, however squeemish!
- Ensure the prawns are mostly covered by the mixture. If not, add more sherry and olive oi in equal measures.
- Cover and leave to marinade at cool room temperature for as long as possible, preferably 3 hours. If less time is available, add more garlic and chillies. Mix occasionally to cover the prawns.
- Remove prawns from mixture, leaving heads in the sauce, and place to one side.
- Heat the marinade over a high heat until bubbling and the heads have turned pink.
- Return the raw prawns to the pan and stir until just cooked.
- Remove some heads from the pan if desired, although a few make an attractive addition, and the Spanish traditionally suck any remaining juice from them.
- Serve in the pan in the centre of the table with lots of crust bread for dipping.