Prawns Sautéed with Garlic Gambas À La Plancha

Prawns sautéed in garlic is one of those classic, simple dishes found all over the Mediterranean, from the tapas bars of Spain to the mezze tables of the Middle East. You can sauté prawns or large shrimp in their shells, or you can peel them down to their tails, which makes them an easy finger food.
By / Photography By Victoria Pearson | March 15, 2016


The prawns can be sautéed in their shells or peeled, depending on how you want to serve them. Sautéing in the shell keeps in a bit more flavor, but peeling the prawns makes them much easier to eat (and you don’t need finger bowls). If peeling the prawns, leave the tails on and remove the dark veins.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the garlic and add the prawns right on top of it. Cook the prawns over high heat for about a minute, until you see them starting to turn pink, then turn them over. Add the lemon juice and the chopped cilantro and cook another minute or so, just until the prawns have turned pink all over. Exact cooking time depends on the size of the prawns.

Sprinkle on a tiny bit of sea salt and serve the prawns with lemon wedges and crusty bread.

Serves 6 to 8 as a tapa, in a selection of mezze or as a garnish for pasta. Easy to double.

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  • 1 pound large prawns (14–18)
  • 2–3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro a pinch of sea salt
  • lemon wedges
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