In the south of Italy one of the classic ways of cooking fresh seafood, is in salt.
This might sound unusual and you wouldn’t be silly to think it would lead to an overly seasoned dish, but it is not the case. I have never had prawns so subtle, succulent and tender as they are cooked this way. I am practically throwing out my griddle and bulk buying half the salt of Brittany.
This is a recipe I managed to get from one of the local restaurants in the Puglian town of Gallipoli, on my recent trip. Having eaten my way around the majority of the town’s local eateries, I can confidently say these ones the best! So I am thrilled they were happy to share. You can have a look at my Instagram for the full seafood feast we had here
It might sound rather daunting, but in fact this dish is super simple to make. The key is getting your mitts on the freshest, biggest, juiciest prawns you can and some great quality olive oil. The reason for using so much salt is because it helps seal in the flavour and keeps the flesh of the prawns really soft and juicy.
Of course this is not an everyday sort of dish, but it is a mighty fine showstopper if you are feeling the need to impress.
All the dish needs is a hunk of crusty bread to serve with and a simple, light and leafy salad. My Kale and Green Bean Market Salad is also a good option too.
Giant Salt-Roasted Prawns Recipe
- 12 large raw prawns, heads and tails on
- 500g coarse rock salt
- 150ml extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves, to serve
- lemon wedges, to serve
Preheat the oven to its highest setting, 220C/ gas mark 7
Put a layer of rock salt about 1cm/½in thick into a baking dish tray, then place the prawns on top. Completely bury the prawns in the remaining salt and drizzle over the olive oil.
Bake in a preheated oven for 6-7 minutes. Once cooked, scatter over the parsley leaves (for garnish) and serve with lemon wedges.
To eat, shake off the salt shards and roll the prawns in the olive oil, before enjoying warm. This is a dish to be eaten immediately whist the prawns are fresh and juicy.