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King Prawns in a Pernod Sauce

Most prawns sold in Britain have been cooked (so look pink), but many specialist fishmonger and supermarkets with fish departments now stock large uncooked prawns (which look grey and slightly translucent).

These are worth seeking out for this recipe.

Your prawns will probably come frozen (and almost certainly will have been in their travels) - so thaw them thoroughly, then shell them in the following way -

If they have a head twist it off (some come headless); it is then very easy to peel off the shell and legs. Leave the tail on, if you like, as it looks quite attractive when cooked.

Make a shallow cut down the back of each prawn and remove the length of black cotton-like substance. This gives a slightly bitter taste, if left on, but is in no way poisinous.

We have allowed four prawns per person (which should be adequate for a starter), but you will have to judge this yourself, as they vary greatly in size; right should make a generous main course.

The very largest prawns are not recommended, as they can be a bit tough.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at - top-class dishes from beginners upwards


For 4 Helpings, as a starter:

16 Uncooked King Prawns, prepared as above
120g/4 oz Onion, peeled & chopped
2 medium cloves Garlic, peeled & finely chopped
50ml/2 fl oz Pernod or Ricard
30g/1 oz Butter
300ml/10 fl oz Double Cream (single will leave you with a thin sauce)
the Juice of ½ a Lemon
Salt & Pepper – to taste
a little chopped Parsley – to decorate


1. In a big deep-sided frying pan, or a similar pan that can hold all the prawns in one layer; melt the butter over a low heat.

2. Add the chopped onion & garlic and 'sweat' until the onion is soft, but not brown - about 3 minutes.

3. Turn the heat up to medium and add the prawns, cook them for one minute on each side (any more will toughen them).

4. Remove from the heat and add the Pernod/Ricard, scraping the bottom of the pan to 'deglaze'. Take out the prawnsand set aside, while you finish the sauce.

5. Add the cream and the lemon juice and return the pan to the heat.

6. Add some salt & pepper and cook until the sauce bubbles and starts to thicken slightly - about 3 to 4 minutes.

* Can be prepared ahead up to this stage - but keep the prawns in the fridge.

Return the prawns to the pan to heat through.

Serve sprinkled with a little chopped parsley and some good bread to mop up the juices.

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