This appetizer is inspired by something I tasted at a little bistro in Pali Hill, Eddies, a few years ago. It was actually grilled squid in an orange & dill sauce! Sadly they took it off the menu a couple of years ago and I’ve been craving it ever since. Now squid is not particularly easy to find in a land locked city (my current abode), and is even trickier to cook! Slightly over done and it gets really chewy; ergo prawns, an alternative protein that I’m more familiar with.
I love this recipe for its speed and simplicity. Its also high protein, uses minimal fat and feels really fresh! Key flavor components are citrusy orange, smoky paprika, garlic, the perfect pairing for any seafood, and fresh dill.
- Lemon Zester
- Flat Frying Pan
- 250 gms Prawns / Shrimp
- 1 Orange
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Paprika
- ⅓ tsp White Pepper
- 2 tsps Garlic [minced / finely chopped]
- 3 tsps Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Butter
- ¼ tsp Black Pepper [freshly crushed]
- 1 – 2 tsps Dill Leaves [finely chopped]
- Wash and drain the prawns really well.
- Add the zest of a whole orange to the prawns.
- Add half a tsp of salt,
- followed by a whole tsp of smoked paprika. You can alternatively use Kashmiri paprika or a mild chili powder if the smoked variety is hard to find. Though the smoky flavor does make this dish a little bit more special. That being said, the highlight here is the orange flavour, so this dish works well even without the smoky element.
- Add a third of a tsp of white pepper. Avoid substituting black pepper if you can. White pepper has quite a different flavour compared to black pepper; its lighter and more aromatic.
- Add 2 tsps of finely minced garlic and stir till all the prawns are evenly coated with the spices.
- Next, add a tsp of olive oil, stir again and refrigerate for 15 – 20 minutes so that the prawns can marinate. Adding this little bit of oil limits moisture from seeping out of the prawns, which usually occurs after the addition of salt to any protein.
- While the prawns marinate, extract the juice of the zested orange. Use a strainer so that you don't get any of the seeds or pith in the juice.
- Heat 1 – 2 tsps of olive oil in a flat-bottomed pan and add the prawns. Make sure to do this on low heat, so that the prawns don't overcook! Cook for just about a minute or two without stirring. Another key tip here is to space the prawns out if possible; this will let them sear a little and keep them dry. If crowded in the pan, they tend to release a little more moisture, which is completely OK if you prefer to have a thinner sauce.
- Now turn the prawns over, and cook on the other side for 1 – 2 minutes. Take them out of the pan and set aside to rest in a bowl. We're cooking the prawns only ¾ of the way at this stage, since we're going to cook them again in the orange sauce.
- Add the orange juice to the pan and turn the heat up so that it bubbles! Once it's bubbling, turn the heat back down and stir continuously until the sauce thickens.
- Add a tsp of butter to the sauce and stir till silky.
- Also add any jus (thin gravy) that has drained out of the cooked prawns while they were resting in a bowl. Stir till well incorporated.
- Add the prawns back in to the thickened sauce and sauté gently until they are evenly coated. This should take a minute or two at the most. Overcooking the prawns will make them chewy! A good way to identify if they are done, is if they go completely opaque and begin to curl up.
- Turn the heat off and add a quarter tsp of black pepper for some heat. You can skip this step if you prefer your food less spicy.
- Finish by sprinkling over fresh dill leaves.
This dish is great for Sunday Brunch or as an appetizer with some white wine😄.
Give this recipe a go the next time you feel like making something that feels fancy, but doesn’t require too much effort! As always, let me know in the comments below if you tried it, and if you have any feedback🖖