Who doesn’t love Saturday mornings? The weekend is just beginning, with the promise of seemingly, at that sun-kissed moment at least, endless time and possibilities. The load of work rolls of our backs, even if only for a little while, and we are revitalized. That’s what it feels like for me in any case.
My Saturdays are, for the most part, fairly simple and non-glamorous. I love them nonetheless for it, perhaps even more so because they are the perfect antithesis for a hectic week.
I wake up, either early or a little later, relishing the blessed fact that I actually have a choice on Saturdays. I get ready to go to the market, putting together my bags and my shopping list (never shop without a list!). Most Saturday mornings, C is off biking, in which case he is out of the house at the crack of dawn. If not, he may or may not join me for the market, depending on the state of his sleepy head. Little C is usually still asleep, but if I’ve woken up later that usual, she may already awake, and I’ll take her along. I like her to see where her food comes from, and what real seafood look like (i.e. not in orderly, clean-cut fillets or be-headed). She love watching the crabs best and we always have to pay them a visit, whether I plan to buy any or not.
Most times though, I go to the market alone, which I also enjoy. The brisk morning air, the sunlight peeking through the leaves, and the precious quiet in my city streets that are usually bursting at the seams with noise during the work week. Perusing produce at my own pace, allowing my thoughts to wander, and wonder. This is one of my favorite ways to “decompress” from the week passed.
If we will all be having lunch at home, that usually means fresh seafood, most likely crustaceans or shells (like clams and mussels) that are best cooked immediately. This was one such Saturday lunch.
Garlic Butter Prawns
- 600 grams prawns
- 1/2 cup butter, halved
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons pimenton de La Vera (picante)
- 1-2 lemons, quartered, to serve
- Butterfly your prawns. I followed this video. Keep the heads attached (there is a lot of good stuff in there and you want this to seep out into the butter). Sprinkle the cut side of the prawns with sea salt and 1 teaspoon of the pimenton.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add half the butter (1/4 cup) and a swirl of olive oil (this keeps the butter from burning). When the butter is all melted and the froth subsiding, add the garlic, letting this sizzle for a bit but not get brown.
- Add the prawns, cut side down, in one layer. Do not crowd the pan – do this in batches if they don’t all fit (adding bits more butter if needed in between batches). The prawns cook very fast so watch them closely as you do not want to overcook them. As soon as you see the underside turn orange flip them and cook on the shell side. Sprinkle in the other teaspoon of the pimenton between batches and shake the pan so the melted butter/oil becomes fragrant and red. When the garlic starts to brown, fish them out with a spoon and set aside.
- Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of butter in a small pan or in a bowl in the microwave. Set aside.
- Remove the cooked prawns to a dish or a plate. Drizzle over the remaining buttery pan juices and the toasted garlic. Serve with lemon wedges and the bowl of melted butter on the side for those who want more. Serve and enjoy immediately!
I had a bit of an accident butterflying the prawns, so if you (like me) have never done this before, do be careful. As the video instructs, use a serrated knife to cut through the shell as a regular knife can (and will) slip. Or, you can do as my mother does and cut through the shells with kitchen shears – although, of course, I didn’t discover this until after she saw my bandaged finger! Anyway, the little cut was a small price to pay for this wonderful meal.
The garlicky, buttery prawns had just a hint of smoky spice, their soft sweet meat pulled easily from their shells to be treated to more lashings of freshly melted butter and spritz’s of lemon juice. Both C and little C gave it a thumbs up, and on a bright and sunny Saturday (despite it being January, and despite the cool-for-us weather) it was just the thing.
I hope you are all having a wonderful Saturday wherever you are!