Time for Tapas: Spicy Spanish prawns and garlic salad


This tapas starter dish with Spanish origins will get your taste buds tingling with its' combination of citrus, seafood and spices.

Loosely based on a Spanish recipe Gambas al Pil Pil, what does 'al pil pil' actually mean? Well, pil pil is a sauce made of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, smoked paprika and Spanish peppers. Once all these ingredients are sizzling in the pan you add the prawns, which cook in the pil pil sauce.


Serves:          4

Prep time:     15 minutes

Cook time:     6 minutes



  • 440g raw frozen peeled king prawns
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

For the salad

  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 5 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Large pinch dried oregano
  • 300g ripe tomatoes, cherry or plum finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • Iceburg lettuce leaves


  1. Defrost the prawns and pat dry with kitchen towel. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Heat a small non-stick pan with a medium-high heat and add the olive oil, once hot, add the sliced garlic and sliced peppers, mix with the oil, after about 1 minute add ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika and mix together, then add the prawns in a single layer, after about 1 ½ minutes flip them and cook for another 1 ½ minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a non-metallic bowl, mix the lime juice, spring onions, tomato paste, oregano, tomatoes, and chilli. Mix well, season with salt and pepper. (This mixture can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.)
  4. Just before serving, peel and cube the avocados. Add the chopped coriander to the prawn sauce and mix well. (This can be done up to 3 hours ahead.)
  5. Carefully separate the lettuce leaves and arrange them over a serving platter. Spoon the prawns and juice into the cup-shaped leaves and serve sprinkled with extra chopped coriander.

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