Prawns al pil pil is similar in name to another recipe up on the blog called gambas al ajillo (commonly known as gambas al pil pil in Spain), however this one was wholly inspired by a dish I ate in Dublin. It’s a white wine garlic butter sauce spiked with our Smoked Spanish Paprika and California Love blend. I gently poach the prawns in the sauce and then drench a toasted slice of day old sourdough with both in order to soak up all the deliciousness.
I recommend using head on prawns if you can find them as the juices add to the flavor of the sauce but it will still be delicious with headless shrimp. In order to create the creamy decadent sauce without the addition of cream, this recipe uses quite a lot of butter to emulsify into the white wine so I recommend a high quality grass fed butter for best results.
- 1 lb head on shrimp or prawns (try to find big juicy ones like U10 but anything will work, check notes at bottom)
- 3 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp California Love
- 1 tsp Pimenton de La Vera
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 6 tbsp of butter, cold and in cubes
- A few slices of sour dough bread
- Parsley to garnish
- Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add a Tbsp of olive oil.
- Add your prawns and cook gently for about 2 minutes each side or until they are barely cooked and then remove to a plate.
- Add your garlic and cook until fragrant and light golden brown. Another 2 minutes.
- Add the spices and stir quickly before adding the white wine.
- Reduce the white wine till about half the liquid is gone.
- Turn off the heat and slowly add the cold cubes of butter while continuously swirling the pan to emulsify the butter into the wine and shrimp juices. Keep adding the butter one cube at a time until all of the butter has been incorporated and it is creamy.
- Add the prawns back to the sauce to rewarm.
- Season with salt to taste and serve over toasted sourdough and garnish with parsley.
Things to remember
- Emulsified butter sauce can sound tricky but it is a very straightforward process. An emulsion is when two liquids that don’t usually mix (like oil and vinegar) are combined and the two liquids are evenly dispersed within each other. When making a dressing, mustard or mayo is sometimes added as an emulsifier which helps bind the two liquids together for a longer period of time. In this recipe we are emulsifying wine and butter by agitation or in this case swirling the pan consistently. If the butter fully melts than the sauce wont emulsify and it will end up very greasy and oily. This is why we remove the pan from the heat and add very cold cubes of butter and continue to stir and swirl non stop. Slowly add the cubes of butter 1 or 2 at a time until all of the butter is melted and the sauce is creamy. This emulsion wont last long so it needs to be eaten immediately. You can also cheat and add the sauce to a blender. The high speed of the blender will emulsify this sauce very quickly. You can also refrigerate your leftovers but when you reheat the sauce it may break and leave you with an oily mess again. When reheating make sure to keep swirly quickly and use very gently heat.
- Day old bread becomes the hero in this recipe. The bread soaking up the sauce is my favorite part.