We live in a tiny, sleepy village called Canewdon. When two cars have driven through the high street it has been a very busy day. The closest city, Southend-on-Sea, is twenty minutes’ drive away. More correctly, it is a seaside town that has been described as “interesting” by a fellow South African. Others, including me, are less polite. Once you’ve seen the beauty of South African coastal towns like Knysna, it is very difficult to find a place that can compete.
Close to the main shopping centre in Southend I discovered a hidden treasure. The pavement is dirty and empty, the houses worn down and tired-looking. It’s the rough end of town and I wouldn’t dare to walk down there at night. It is arguably the crummiest street in Southend but yet I love it to bits. There isn’t an ounce of pretentiousness in the area. Away from the chain shops with their sparkly windows, it possesses an almost anti-social personality yelling “Take me or leave me, I don’t care!”, though I’m sure it will be even ruder if it could talk. A Chinese shop is based there. When you step in the shop you’re teleported to another world, you might as well be in the Far East.
If you rummage through the freezer compartments you will come across boxes of prawns. I’m not talking about those tiny prawns supermarkets sell that taste like cardboard. They’re big; you can even get king-sized ones if you like. Since then I’ve never looked back. Whenever I need a prawn-fix, I know where to go.
The recipe below is quick to make. You may notice that the prawns are first cleaned out and then cooked in their shells, ensuring maximum flavour. Serve on a bed of rice with a glass of white wine and imagine you’re bathing in the warm South African sun overlooking the magnificent Atlantic Ocean. I know I do.
Pan-fried Butter & Garlic Prawns
Preparation: 15 mins – Cooking: 4 mins
- 10 whole shell-on prawns, weighing about 400g (1 lb)
- 30ml (2 tbsp) butter
- rock salt
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- With a sharp knife, score down the back of the shrimp. Remove the thin, digestive tract with the tip of the knife. Repeat with the rest of the prawns. Rinse the prawns under running water and pat dry with paper towels.
- Melt the butter and generously grind salt in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and prawns, and fry over a high heat, stirring, for 3 – 4 minutes until the prawns are pink. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
- To serve more people, simply multiply the ingredients accordingly.