Cast Iron King Prawns
Transport yourself to the bustling streets of Barcelona with this tantalizing side of smoky prawns, flame cooked in a sauce of paprika, white wine, lemon, and parsley. Bring it out to impress hungry guests at your next dinner party, or simply enjoy it for a midweek treat with a crisp glass of Verdejo. This recipe from Ooni Ambassador Alberto Zanrosso is easy to recreate at home, even if you aren’t hand selecting your ingredients from the renowned markets of Boqueria and Santa Caterina like Alberto prefers to do (Jealous yet?).
The standout flavor of this dish should be the seafood, so if you can, try to source local, fresh prawns from your nearest fishmonger or specialty market. You can use prawns from the grocery store, but make sure to defrost them first, since they may be somewhat frozen. The prawns cook quickly and don’t require much heat, so this dish is perfect for getting a dinner party started while you preheat the oven, or for finishing the party as it cools down.
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
18 ounces (500 grams) whole king prawns
Generous pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons dry sherry or dry white wine
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup (60 grams) fresh parsley, chopped
Fire up your Ooni pizza oven. Aim for 360°F (180°C) on the stone baking board inside. If you’re cooking with wood and charcoal, build the fire up to a low flame, using just charcoal if possible. Cooking with gas? Preheat the oven on the highest setting for 5 minutes, then adjust the dial to its lowest setting.
To prepare the prawns. remove the head and peel off the outer shell, stopping at the base of the tail.
Once the shell has been removed, check for the intestinal tract (the dark line running down the back of the prawn). While safe to eat, it can give the prawn a grainy texture and ruin the flavor, so you’ll want to remove it. Use a sharp paring knife to make a small incision down the back of the prawn and devein it. Repeat for the remaining prawns.
Pat the prepared prawns dry and season with a generous pinch of kosher salt. Set aside, covered, while you prepare the cast iron.
Brush the pan with the olive oil and place it in the oven until it’s shimmering but not smoking, then remove it and add the garlic. Cook outside the oven for up to 1 minute, or until the garlic begins to tan. Add the shrimp and put the pan in the oven for 90 seconds. Remove, give the contents of the pan a toss, then return to the oven to cook for another 90 seconds. Watch the prawns closely. Look for the flesh to turn an opaque, pearly pink. The time it takes will depend on the size of the prawns, so keep an eye on the color and periodically shake the pan to ensure they cook evenly. Once cooked, add the paprika and cook for 30 seconds more.
Remove the pan and stir in the sherry or wine, lemon juice, and parsley. Serve right away.