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Hot and Sour Pickled Prawns

This is an ace of a first course for busy people. It is dead easy to prepare and, as it needs at least 48 hours to pickle the prawns and allow the flavours to develop, there's absolutely nothing to do at the last minute. You can, if you want, use ordinary-sized prawns (or even the ready-peeled frozen kind), but best of all are the fat, juicy and sweet cooked Mediterranean prawns that are now available in most supermarkets in rigid plastic containers or else vacuum-packed.

Please don't worry about there being a whole dessertspoon of Tabasco in the marinade – it really doesn't make it fiery hot, but gives it what I'd call a lively piquancy.


This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection.


To prepare the prawns, remove the shells and heads (if there are any) but leave the tails on as they look very attractive. Then use the tip of a small sharp knife to cut a slit all along the back of each prawn and remove the black thread that sometimes runs from head to tail.

Then place the prawns and capers in the dish together with the sliced peppers, onion and lemon.

Now in a bowl or jar whisk the oil, mustard, vinegar, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco together, adding the salt, a little coarsely ground black pepper and the sugar, then pour this mixture all over the prawns.

Cover the container and place it in the fridge for at least 48 hours, giving the contents a shake or stirring them around from time to time.

Serve the prawns garnished with sprigs of coriander and slices of lime with plenty of the marinade poured over and lots of bread to mop up the juices.


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