Spicy Butterflied Prawns by M. Kuehn

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As a woman d’un certain age, clinging onto fifties by a mere fingernail, the stark realisation that time not so much marches as pelts along without a thought for mortality, I now spend as much time out of the kitchen when cooking for friends or family. What’s the point of missing the banter? None whatsoever.

This starter takes on time at all. I add a sourdough baguette with which to mop up the juices and a salad of rocket, roughly torn cos lettuce leaves, finely sliced red onion and a few shaves of Parmesan.

Serves 4

16 raw king prawns
1 ancho chili
 2 tbs red pepper paste
1 small glass of dry white wine
1 small glass of water
2 tbs of olive oil
sea salt
a few pea shoots for decoration (optional)

Butterflying prawns isn’t difficult and it means your guests won’t have to get their  hands dirty by having to peel them. With a sharp knife, cut a line from the head of the prawn (belly facing up) to the tail and open the prawn up.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and pour in the wine and water. Reduce by half. Tip in the pepper paste, crumble in the chili and cook for a minute on a low heat. Now add the prawns and cook for approximately two minutes, until they are pink and cooked through.

Add a pinch of sea salt, divide between four plates and scatter over a few pea shoots. A glass of Mirabeau pure would be a splendid companion for the prawns.

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