One of my favourite things about Summer cooking is barbecuing. Well, coming up with recipes for the barbecue, anyway. I've mentioned before I'm not the best person on the grill, but when it comes to inventing my own marinades for the grill, such as for my Whole Lemon & Honey Barbecue Chicken Skewers, or putting together ideas for things like my S'mores Barbecue Bananas, I'm completely in my kitchen happy place. While I shared a lot of chicken recipes last Summer (if we don't know what to cook for supper we usually just grab some from the freezer and marinate), today I want to share a recipe I've come up with recently that is such a quick, easy and delicious way to serve up another staple we also always have stashed in the freezer: prawns.
On a recent rummage through trying to decide what to grill that evening we unearthed all types; giant raw peeled, giant raw shell on, baby cocktail cooked, any you can think of. They're one of my father's favourites, so you can guarantee that if they happen to be on special offer as he walks past them in Waitrose, you can also pretty much guarantee they'll find their way into the shopping trolly, and therefore our freezer.
Having so many prawns about of various types, I think as a family we've become pretty good at figuring out which type of prawn is best suited to various types of cooking. While most people think the highly aesthetic raw, skin on type are best for marinating and barbecuing, I think they're best kept for things when they're served in their sauce like my Hot King Prawns in Garlic Butter or Honey & Co.'s revelatory Prawns in Orange, Tomato & Cardamom. Instead for barbecuing I prefer to use raw skin off prawns, because there is no fiddly peeling to do at the table, you can see when they're done so they're harder to overcook, and I think you get a better hit from the flavours in your marinade and the smokiness from the barbecue when you're not peeling it all off before you eat. I've never really seen the point in removing flavour.
We've tried a few spiced versions recently (I still have plans for a fajita version, I'll keep you posted) but my favourite by far came the evening I decided to just throw a whole load of French garlic, the soft herbs we have growing in pots in the kitchen and by the back door at the moment (parsley, coriander and basil), some extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper into a bowl and hope for the best. We love them on their own, or as part of a surf-n-turf with our barbecued steaks. This recipe makes 6 skewers, 2 per person.
- 300g Raw King Prawns
- Small Handful Flat Leaf Parsley
- Small Handful Fresh Basil
- Small Handful Coriander
- 3 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Either by hand or in a small mini chopper (I use this Kenwood chopper which I use for so many different things, certainly a kitchen essential) chop the herbs, without stalks as fine as possible so they're practically a paste. Transfer into a medium bowl, and stir in the garlic and the lemon juice, and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the olive oil and add the prawns, mixing around very well so they are well coated. Leave to marinade for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak 6 barbecue skewers in a clean sink of water. Soaking the skewers means they won't catch light on the barbecue and makes for a much better cooking experience. Divide the prawns between the skewers, and pour over the remaining marinade so they can carry on seeping while you wait for the grill master to pronounce that everything else is cooked, and it is time to give the prawns just a quick cook through before serving.
While I've specified flat leaf parsley, basil and coriander here (the marinade is such that you get all the flavours) but this recipe is so adaptable for Summer, just use whatever soft herbs you have growing in pots or lying in the bottom of your fridge. Or, if you don't want to barbecue and you're after serving your prawns up as a starter instead, why not try my Breaded Prawns with a Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce?