Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


What to do with a prawn.

Prawns used to be a luxury food. They were expensive. But people historically did dreadful things with them and wasted their money.

One of the things they did was to take a perfectly good martini glass, put diced tomato in it, drown it with thousand island dressing and then hang a prawn on the side of the glass like a seahorse trying escape a fishbowl.

Another thing was to truss prawns up in bacon, pierce them with a toothpick and then grill them, like a mass burning of medieval martyrs. They called them angels on horseback. Or was it devils on horseback? No. Devils on horseback had prunes inside. Can you imagine that? I used to serve them when I was a young waiter at AHA functions back in the days when the AHA had the state government in its pocket. But that's another story. Silver trays of blistered and glistening black bacon rolls smelling of the sea.

Why would you do that when you could just as easily gently cook prawns in white wine and garlic, remove the prawns when just opaque and reduce the wine with a little cream and a dash of cracked pepper? Well actually, they did that as well - garlic prawns - but then they sat the whole thing on a bed of rice. Creamy garlic sauce does not go with white rice.

But it does go with pasta.

Creamy prawns with pasta, garlic and white wine.

Not a lot to add to the above description. Once the pasta is on - usually spaghetti - peel and vein the prawns (buy Australian ones, not the pre-peeled Chinese ones), chop as much garlic as you like into tiny dice, warm it through in some white wine and olive oil, throw in the prawns, turn up the heat and cook until opaque, flipping them after a minute. Place the prawns on or through pasta in serving bowls, and quickly reduce sauce and pour over. Garnish with parsley. Optional: add a little sliced chilli into the sauce with the garlic.

Works particularly well with home made gnocchi - the sheeny potato dumplings pick up the garlicky, creamy sauce and they melt in your mouth. But never buy supermarket gnocchi. It is to the home made equivalent as a tennis ball is to an iced cupcake.

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