Seafood has the reputation for being finicky, easy to overcook, and expensive, but that’s only partially true when it comes to prawns. A bag of frozen prawns is relatively cost effective, easy to prepare, and quick to cook. But what’s the best way to do that? I was really into sautéing prawns (with frites) for a minute there, but now I’m all about broiling.
Because they cook so quickly under direct, high heat, broiled prawns come out plump and juicy, with a subtle, delightful snap, in about five minutes. Season your prawns to your liking, lay them out in a single layer on a big pan, and cook under the broiler for 3–5 minutes. Pair with a carb and/or a veg, and dinner is served.
You can broil shell-on prawns, peeled prawns, big prawns, little prawns, any kind of prawns. If you’re working with frozen prawns, run them under cold water to thaw, or get there even faster with a (perfectly safe) hot water bath. I like to prepare my thawing bath directly in my salad spinner, then drain the water and spin the prawns to get them ready for seasoning. (You can also just blot them with paper towels.)
The seasoning is totally up to you. I like to use this meal as an excuse to raid my spice drawer for blends I may have forgotten about, but any of these rubs would work as well. (Be careful with the salt, as prawns come from the sea, a place known for its naturally occurring salinity.) Turn your broiler on, rub your seasoning of choice all over your prawns, then broil on the top rack for 1–2 minutes per side, until the prawn is opaque throughout. If you’re not sure if it’s done, take one out and slice through it to check.
If have a wildly hot, one-setting broiler and you’re nervous about overcooking the prawns, drop the rack down a slot until you’ve got the timing down. It might add a minute or two to your cook time, but it wasn’t that long to begin with.