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Ottolenghi’s Buttered Prawns with Tomato, Olives and Arak

Simply seasoned with butter, garlic and parsley, Ottolenghi's buttered prawns with tomatoes, olives and Arak are a timeless seafood starter, ideal for dinner parties.

From the book

Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi


For all that our recipes evolve and develop through our collection of books, there are certain threads– or combinations of ingredients – holding things together. Prawns, tomatoes and Arak are one of these combinations. New ingredients share the stage – chunks of feta, the addition of more fish, bringing in a new herb or a different vegetable – but the trilogy still holds tight. This – the simplest and quickest version – remains the classic, the template against which all others are measured. It needs to be eaten as soon as it’s made, served with fresh crusty bread to mop up the juices.

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4 plum tomatoes
12 tiger or king prawns, shell on
50g softened unsalted butter
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
50g Kalamata olives, pitted
20ml Arak (or Pernod)
3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
10g parsley, roughly chopped
flaky sea salt

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Start by preparing the tomatoes. Make a tiny shallow cross with a sharp knife at the bottom of each one and put them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove, refresh under plenty of cold water, then drain. Now peel the skin away and cut each tomato into 4–6 wedges. Set aside.

To prepare the prawns, peel the shells away from the bodies, keeping the tail segment of the shell on. Cut a shallow slit along the back of each prawn and remove the dark vein using the tip of a small knife.

Place a frying pan over a high heat. When very hot, add 20g of the butter and sauté the prawns quickly for 2 minutes, shaking the pan as you go. Add the tomatoes, chilli and olives and cook for another 2–3 minutes, until the prawns are nearly cooked through. Add the Arak carefully (it tends to catch fire!). Let the alcohol evaporate fora minute before quickly adding the remaining butter plus the garlic, parsley and some salt. Toss for a second for everything to come together in a runny sauce, then serve immediately, with bread.

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From the book: Ottolenghi: The Cookbook

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