A caricature of how we work in the kitchen might portray me as the creative tyrant and Maggie as the expert-but-oppressed kitchen hand. However, Maggie would like it to be known that she has several specialities of her own, albeit with input from me on sauces and seasonings (two of my main strengths as a cook).
Maggie’s version of garlic prawns is one of her most popular creations, producing an elegant dish that is a far cry from prawns that have been ruined by too much garlic or olive oil. (I have an old-but-vivid olfactory memory of a restaurant in Subiaco, an inner-suburb of Perth. The most popular item on the menu was garlic prawns, served in a cast-iron pot, knee-deep in a pool of olive oil thick with a sludge of crushed garlic. It seemed like all good fun at the time, except for the fact that the restaurant’s walls and timbers reeked of rancid oil and garlic!)
Ingredients (to serve 4 to 5 persons as an entrée or 3 as a main course)
30g butter (can substitute some olive oil)
24 raw medium prawns, peeled and halved lengthways
6-8 cloves garlic, crushed
generous pinch of chilli flakes
½-¾ cup lite cooking cream (to suit your palate)
< ½ bunch parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
¾ cup Basmati rice, boiled with a generous pinch of saffron threads
- Melt butter (and oil) in large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add prawns and cook, turning each prawn once, until the prawns just begin to colour.
- Add garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chilli flakes and stir.
- Add cream and cook sauce gently until it thickens a little. Add parsley, season generously and stir to combine ingredients.
- Serve immediately in flat-bottomed pasta bowls, alongside or on top of some of the saffron rice. I like to serve a simple side-salad of tomato wedges, chopped basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Any leftovers re-heat effectively in a microwave oven at no more than medium power.