After a weekend in Almeria on the Mediterranean coast of Mojacar I sampled some great fish dishes, some very simple others more elaborate, but the dish that I enjoyed the most was Gambas Pil- Pil – Hot chilli and garlic prawns in a spicy sauce.
Having asked how it was cooked at the restaurant, checking some Spanish cookbooks and several trials, this is the way I like to make it, with the fresh chilli for me please.
It’s a simple and really easy and quick dish to make and a great and quite impressive starter to serve, but if you’re using chilli, make sure your guest like it first.
It is just as good with either cayenne or paprika for the non-chilli lovers.
400g raw prawns (in their shells)
virgin olive oil, 8- 20 tablespoons
1 fresh chilli or 2 dried chillies (or ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or 1 tsp paprika)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
salt to taste
Heat the oven to fairly high. Put 2-5 tablespoons olive oil into four individual "" clay cooking dishes or you could use one big one, but that makes more washing up!. Heat them in the oven, taking care not to burn the oil.
Meanwhile peel the prawns. Prepare the fresh chilli if you are using it, remove the stalk and seeds and slice into fine rings. For the dried chillies, deseed and crush.
Add the chilli and the garlic to the heated dishes. Share the prawns between the dishes and sprinkle with some salt (and cayenne or paprika if you’re using it).
Stir the ingredients in the dishes well to ensure that the prawns are coated with oil.
Return them to the oven for 5 minutes until they are very hot.
Serve immediately in the same dishes, being very careful with the hot oily sauce.
This is great with a huge salad and really fresh crusty bread to soak up the delicious juices.
I love these dishes they can be used on the hob, in the oven and microwave, they're dishwasher proof and also make nice serving dishes. Think of all that washing-up saved!
To see read more about cazuelas see here.