A simple & quick canapé recipe that I call Three Pepper Prawns, because its marinade is made with – you guessed it – three peppers: black pepper, sichuan pepper and chilli flakes. If you can’t get sichuan peppers, it will still be as delicious without. In the summer this is perfect on the barbecue of course but I cook it just as often on the stove top with minimal fat, charring the shells, smoking the whole house up! Can also be grilled (broiled) for 2-3 minutes on each side.
And yes, we cook them with their shells on, cooking prawns this way with their shell on produce more succulent meat, the marinade still does get passed on to the meat and at the same time the shells impart a depth of their own to the prawn meat, much like when making stock with prawns shells.
The prawns should be given a little marinating time, about 30 minutes will do nicely but you could also leave them for longer.
- 24 large prawns
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
- juice of 1 lime
- Clean the prawns, remove the head and wash off any gunk. Leave the shells and tails intact.
- In a pestle and mortar, first crush the black peppercorns to a coarse grind. Place in a bowl with the chilli flakes.
- Place the salt and sichuan peppercorns in the pestle and mortar and crush, this will give your dish all the flavours of these peppercorns without any unpleasant tingling that you can get from whole ones. Add to the chilli flakes and black pepper and mix thoroughly.
- Sprinkle this dry mix all over the prawns, followed with the lime juice.
- Mix thoroughly, making sure the prawns are coated completely. Leave to marinate for anything from 10 to 30 minutes. Because of the lime juice, we don't want to marinate it for too long as the acid from the lime juice will cook the prawn meat, resulting in a too soft, cottony texture when cooked.
- Cook on barbecue or under grill for 2-3 minutes on either side.
- STOVE TOP: Heat a griddle or frying pan on fairly high heat until smoking, with just a little oil. Add the prawns, making sure not to overcrowd. Cook for 2-3 minutes on either side until nicely charred. Your house will be smoking at this point - you've been warned!
- They can be served as pictured, on a bed of salad or straight off the barbie.
They really don't need any dipping sauce but if fancy one, add a little, fish sauce, lime juice/clear vinegar, chopped cucumber, slices of chilli, mix, taste, adjust seasoning & you're good to go. When served draped over the rim of a wine glass as in picture, I like to pour some dipping sauce into the glass itself.