The aroma that wafts through the kitchen as you cook this is gonna make your mouth water. Roasted shellfish and garlic, deglazed with a glass of your favourite white wine. A dead-simple recipe, cooked in minutes.
The French call them langoustines. In Norway there known as Norwegian lobster. Here and in Britain there called Dublin Bay prawns and I’ve often wondered where that name comes from? I’ve been around Dublin bay many a time and it’s not like it’s teeming with them.
A popular recipe to use these sweet little crustaceans in is scampi. To me though this is sacrilege. Rolling them in breadcrumbs and sticking them in the deep fryer just doesn’t do them justice. Try this recipe instead it’s far quicker and 10 times tastier.
We’re so lucky here in this corner of the world to have succulent sea creatures right on our doorstep. Its only habitat is the north-eastern Atlantic, as far south as Portugal, and up to the north in Iceland.
What makes Dublin bay prawns so great? why are they better than their cousins the tiger or king prawn from south-east Asia that you see on supermarket shelves everywhere? Well for me it’s all about the texture. They’re much softer, sweeter tasting, and more succulent.
They can sometimes be difficult to get your hands on though and they’re expensive too. So at a push, you could substitute any other variety of prawns or shrimp as our friends across the pond call them.
When you’re shopping buy the freshest you can find. They should have a luminous orange glow with no black spots on the head or tail and smell fresh like the sea with no trace of ammonia.
If you can’t find fresh ones you could use frozen their quality has improved a lot in the last couple of years due to the fact they’re flash-frozen an hour or two after they’ve been caught.
Aeons ago, when I was a young commis I got a job for the summer down in Waterford on the southeast coast of Ireland.
The fishing port of Dunmore east was just a couple of miles down the road and every afternoon we’d get a delivery of prawns so fresh that they were still alive and jumping around.
In a few hours, the tasty crustaceans went from the sea straight to our customer’s plate. I didn’t appreciate it at the time and in the 20 years since I’ve never seen prawns so fresh.
No matter what way you buy your prawns once you have them out of the shell you’ve got to devein them. This is just removing the digestive tract that runs along the tail.
Sometimes if you pinch the bottom of the tail when you’re taking off the shell the digestive tract will come away too. Otherwise, it’s a simple task to run a sharp knife along the top of the tail about a quarter-inch deep until you come across a skinny black thread and pull it out.
I cringe if I go out for dinner to a restaurant and am served prawns that haven’t been deveined. Call me fussy but it can make them taste bitter and I’m not that into eating prawn excrement.
If you got the prawns whole from the market keep all the heads and shells, wrap them up in cling and pop them in the freezer. You can use them later to make an awesome tasting shellfish stock that will really lift soups and sauces.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve cooked this little dish. It’s just so so simple, quick, and easy – a real crowd-pleaser.
During the summer months, I like to add some seasonal vegetables to the mix. Ripe cherry tomatoes, peas or asparagus. It works great as an appetizer or cooks some pasta to go along with it and have it for lunch or supper.
Oh and don’t forget to get some crusty bread to mop up all the fragrant garlicky sauce.Print
- 150g (5 oz) butter
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- 20g (3/4 oz)chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 32 Dublin Bay prawns
- 150 ml (1/4 pint) white wine
- First, make the garlic butter – mix together the butter, garlic and parsley and blitz in the food processor for 1 minute.
- Next, shell the prawns and devein them and dry them off on paper towels. I sometimes leave the heads on and just remove the shell from the tail. But feel free to take the heads off altogether. They make a great stock.
- Heat the olive oil till smoking hot and gently add the prawns.
- Cook for about 30 seconds till golden brown and then turn them over
- add the garlic butter to the pan and just as it starts to turn brown add the white wine.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.
- Serve and enjoy
if you can’t get a hold of Dublin bay prawns, substitute another type of prawn or shrimp.
- Serving Size: serves 4 as an appetizer