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Prawns with Garlic and Pimenton

Yield: 12 tapas servings

  • 2 lbs. large prawns, shell-on, head on if available
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbs. Pimenton (smoked paprika)
  • 1 tsp. Pimenton picante (or to taste, use more for spicier, and less for milder flavor
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 wedges of lemon
  • Crusty bread for sopping the wonderful juices up

The prawns can be served either in the shells, or with shells removed. To serve with the shells removed, peel and devein. To serve in the shell, if they are “easy peel” they are already deveined. If not, take a toothpick, and slip in 1/4 inch into the meat of the shrimp mid-back at a shell joint, and put sharply upward—the sand vein should come out. Rinse, pat dry and set aside.

Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan or cazuela, and add the garlic and pimenton, plus 1/2 tsp. salt. Once the garlic begins to sizzle, add the prawns, and distribute evenly in the pan. Use a big enough pan that they are at least mostly in one layer.

Cook, undisturbed, for a minute or so depending on size—the bottom should look pink and cooked, and the shell will start to brown just a bit. Regulate the fire so the garlic doesn’t get too brown, or it will taste burnt. Turn, and finish cooking for another minute or two. Toss in the parsley, and mix. Pour out into a serving bowl, taste for seasoning and add salt if needed, and squeeze a bit of lemon juice over—or serve with the lemon wedges, for people to squeeze their own. Pass the bread and enjoy.