Saffron Chilli Prawns

I dream of the day when I can cook and photograph the fruit of my labours, destined for this blog, in peace.  Food tends to get whisked away from under the camera lens faster than the shutter speed.  Bad for my photos, but probably a pretty good sign that what I have prepared is both eagerly awaited and looks and smells delicious. For anyone suffering a similar problem, I’d say we should take heart.  For now, I can only heartily apologise for my lack of photographic style 😦

With the new year starting, there is always food for thought and contemplation.  The role of patience in our lives is a good example.   As our lives become more frantic and our levels of frustration can soar, it’s good to take a step back and learn to accept that sometimes we need to wait, or allow circumstances to take their course.   For 2011, I hope for more patience.  To exhibit more patience myself, particularly with those dearest to me.  To see more of it in the world around me.

On a lighter note, I’m hoping to have more patience with the whole food styling thing and to find a little more patience on offer at the dining table, but not too much :-).

Happy New Year!  May it bring you all joy, success in all that is meaningful to you, and delicious foodie experiences!

I made this prawn dish for Christmas lunch and it got an encore performance on New Year’s Eve.   My folks loved it and as it was stinking hot (i.e. over 40C), it was a great dish to serve with salads for lunch.  A lovely summer dish.  It packs a wallop of flavour and you can smell the saffron throughout the house as it’s cooking.

This dish is very quick and simple to throw together.  It’s also pretty healthy, so that’s a bonus, ending the year on a good note. Or starting the year on a good note!

OK. We had dessert later, but hey …

Note: I have made these with both black and brown tiger prawns. Consensus is that the brown tiger prawns were better in this dish, with a better flavour. Use whatever is fresh is my guess. Don’t add too much chilli. It’s not the focus of this dish, it’s only there to accent the flavours. That honour belongs to the saffron. Trust me.

Serves 2 as a main

Extra virgin olive oil (about 1/3 cup)
400 grams uncooked and shelled tiger prawns (tails on)
1 orange, zest and juice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
a small handful of Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 small fresh chilli, chopped or dried chilli flakes (optional)
salt and pepper, freshly ground
2 generous pinches of Spanish saffron threads

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Drizzle some of the olive oil in a large baking dish (about 13 x 9 inches).  You don’t want to drown the prawns, just coat them well so they won’t be dry and can absorb all the flavours of the other ingredients.  Err on the side of less and you can add a little more, if required, once you’ve added the seasonings.

Wash and dry the prawns.  Place the prawns in the baking dish.  Add the orange zest and juice, garlic, and chilli, if using. Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle over the saffron threads.  If the threads are large, you can grind them in a mortar and pestle first.  Toss the prawns to coat evenly.

Arrange the prawns in a single layer in the dish as shown. The prawns should lie in a single layer to cook evenly.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the flesh has turned opaque and you can smell the saffron goodness.  At this point, add the chopped parsley and toss again.  Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.  Once cooked, remove from the oven and place on a heated serving dish.

Serve immediately. Great for parties as finger food too.

Enjoy. Have a Delicious New Year.



Filed under All Recipe Posts, Protein, Savouries, Special Diet

4 responses to “Saffron Chilli Prawns

  1. cjgw

    The simple things in life are often the best and this recipe is one. I’ve fried, boiled, steamed, and BBQ prawns but never thought of baking them before. I thought the use of saffron was perfect for this dish …saffron is widely known as one of those love foods ie aphrodisiacs along with the other gorgeous ingredient truffles. But less is more with these delicate things as too much can actually be lethal! 🙂

    I love this dish and had to try it myself …5/5

    • Wow, thanks Helena! Yep, definitely have to take care not to go overboard with saffron…probably why it’s so expensive (a safety measure!). I hope you enjoy them. Let me know which prawns you think work best. Everyone voted for the brown tiger prawns at home. Maybe being smaller they suited baking better. Not sure. Happy New Year!!

  2. I don’t think we get the choice of tiger prawns that you do in provincial British cities, maybe in London, but they look mouthwateringly good!

    On food styling, call me eccentric but I like your photos a lot, and sometimes when food pics on blogs are too perfect I kind of switch off, I like photos that make me think I could do that. When I see perfect slices of cake, with ne’er a smear and a strategically placed crumb I get a little bored. I really like to see close ups and shots that make you aware of textures. Maybe I just say this because I am not that good at taking food photos but I’ve noticed that it’s the same with recipes, people seem to comment with more excitement if it’s something they have maybe made themselves or at least thought about making. Hang on, I just need to go and drool over those prawns of yours one more time….. 🙂

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