Roasted colossal prawns like Carabineros or Scarlet Prawns are one of my favorite ingredients. These beautiful deep-sea prawns are found in the Mediterranean Sea and are more flavorful than shrimp or even lobster.
When I cook with such a high-quality ingredient, I try not to overwork it. In fact, colossal prawns don’t need anything more than a hot pan, some parsley, a few cloves of garlic, and big squeeze of lemon.
This dish is one of my go-to recipes, especially with guests. Here, I take those juicy, roasted colossal prawns and serve them along briny, sweet littlenecks and herby gremolata to create an impressive, crowd-pleasing meal.
The best part is that everything comes together fast and you can prep most things in advance.
About an hour before serving, get a cast-iron skillet blazing hot. When you’re ready to eat, toss the prawns in the hot pan and roast in the oven for a few minutes. The high-heat will ensure a nice sear without overcooking.
Then, remove the prawns, add in the littleneck clams, cover with foil, and cook until the clams open so their liquor can reduce into a spoonable sauce right in the pan.
Serve everything up family-style on a large platter with a gremolata of parsley, garlic and preserved lemon scattered on top.
Its pretty much the ultimate one-pot meal.
Roasted Colossal Prawns with Littleneck Clams & Gremolata
- 1 lb colossal prawns (like Carabineros Scarlet Prawns) head-on, tail-on
- 1 dozen littleneck clams cleaned and scrubbed
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
- 1 lemon
- 1 Tbsp preserved lemon rind finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Thai chile thinly sliced
- flaky sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Put a large, dry cast-iron skillet in the oven and heat until very hot, about 1 hour.
Place the clams in a medium-sized bowl and fill it with cool tap water. Let the clams sit for about 30 minutes to remove the sand from inside their shells. Just before you're ready to cook, scrub each clam with a stiff-bristle brush to remove any particles or grit from the shell.
Devine the prawns by making a slit with a sharp knife or kitchen sears along the middle of the back to expose the dark vein. Pull out the vein.
In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, zest of 1 lemon, and preserved lemon rind. Using a Microplane, grate the garlic into the mixture, stir to combine, and season with a pinch of flaky sea salt.
In a medium bowl, combined the prawns and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with half of the parsley mixture and the juice of 1 lemon.
Immediately add the prawns to the hot skillet and return to the oven. Roast until just cooked through , 5-6 minutes (depending on size). Remove the prawns and add the clams to the skillet. Cover in foil and roast for 5-8 minutes or until the clams open. Discard any unopened clams.
Transfer the prawns, clams, and pan juices to a serving platter and sprinkle with the remaining parsley mixture and sliced chile. Serve with lemon wedges.
HOW TO CLEAN PRAWNS
Save yourself some time and effort and ask your fishmonger to clean the prawns for you. Just be sure to keep on the heads and shells as they make an such an incredible visual impact in the final dish.
If you are more ambitious, you can clean them yourself. It's a lot like preparing regular shrimp, but if you need help cleaning them, check out this short video on how to devein prawns.
WHAT TO DO WITH PRAWN HEADS & SHELLS
After you are done eating, save the heads and shells and make an incredible seafood stock for a fish risotto or stew.
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