Creamy Garlic Prawns are your favourite garlic prawns… PLUS a creamy garlic sauce! Few simple little tricks to make a sauce that’s a cut above your basic recipes – deglaze the pan with a little white wine, a splash of chicken stock and sprinkle of parmesan. Because plump prawns demand the BEST sauce!
What you need for Creamy Garlic Prawns
This recipe might call for a few ingredients that others don’t – namely wine, parmesan and chicken stock. But these are the 3 things that gives the sauce extra depth of flavour so it stacks up to great restaurants. So don’t skip them!
- Prawns / shrimp – use good quality frozen, thawed, or peel your own (you’ll need 1kg /2lb whole prawns). I used to be a total prawn snob and never used pre peeled frozen ones, but nowadays you can get really good quality ones from the fish markets and good fish mongers;
- White wine – age old trick used by chefs to add extra complexity into sauces by deglazing pans (ie add wine into hot pan after searing meat/prawns to dissolve the precious gold bits stuck to the base of the pan into the sauce = free flavour!). Use any white wine that’s no too fruity (like some Rieslings can be) or too woody (like some Chardonnays). I use Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris, I buy discount bottles for cooking purposes. I keep them for weeks/months in the fridge!
- Chicken or vegetable stock/broth – as with the wine, this adds an extra depth of flavour to the sauce. Use low sodium so you can be sure your sauce won’t end up too salty;
- Parmesan – in addition to wine and stock/broth, this is the 3rd power ingredient that makes this creamy garlic sauce extra good. Parmesan is a well known source of umami which is the technical term for “savoury” flavour, and in this recipe it also serves the double purposes of thickening the creamy sauce (instead of using even more cream);
- Cream – thickened / heavy cream is best because it’s thicker than pure cream which means it needs less reducing to thicken. And full fat is better / thicker than light cream, but this recipe works a treat with low fat too (as well as evaporated milk); and
- Garlic – because we’re making a Creamy GARLIC Sauce for the prawns! Some garlic is used to marinate the prawns, some to add flavour into the sauce.
How to make Creamy Garlic Prawns
- Marinate prawns – just a brief 20 minute marinade for the prawns to infuse them with some garlic flavour. Because prawn flesh is so tender, it doesn’t need anymore than that;
- Sear prawns – cook these on medium heat, then remove. Cook in batches to make it easier to control the process so you don’t accidentally overcook them. Nobody likes rubbery overcooked prawns!
- Sauce garlic & deglaze pan – cook some garlic in a little butter in the same pan (this gets really good garlic flavour into the sauce) then add the wine;
- Reduce wine – simmer rapidly on high heat until the wine is reduced down and you no longer smell the harsh “winey” smell;
- Finish sauce – add the stock and reduce that down too, before adding cream. I do this before the cream because it’s faster to reduce it first by itself before adding the cream. Then once the cream is added, it only takes 2 minutes or so to reduce and thicken;
- Return prawns into sauce to reheat them gently and bring it all together, then it’s ready to be served!
Here’s a close up photo of the sauce so you can see the thickness. Though actually, it’s a bit thicker than ideal – the sauce had cooled a bit by the time I took that photo.
What to serve with Creamy Garlic Prawns
Serving on a starchy bed worthy of soaking in that creamy sauce is essential. The best is mashed potatoes – to fully optimise the eating experience of every drop of sauce.
Also good with:
- rice – try it with this Seasoned Rice, though plain white rice or brown rice will be just fine too;
- creamy Mashed Sweet Potato (someone please remind me to publish the recipe, I have had it waiting to go for months!);
- Creamy Cauliflower Mash (low-carb life essential – and it’s MUCH tastier than you think!);
- soft white rolls for mopping plates clean (use this No Yeast Sandwich Bread if you have no yeast or no time to wait for dough to rise)
If you want this over pasta, best to use this Creamy Garlic Prawn Pasta recipe instead (you need to toss pasta with sauce to get the creamy sauce to stick to the pasta).
Also on the very edge of the above photo, you spy greenery which is essential to round out the meal. On that occasion, it was a handful of mixed leafy greens tossed with my Basic Salad Dressing but you could get a little fancier and use a French Vinaigrette or Italian Dressing, or a simple Balsamic Dressing.
Otherwise, browse through Vegetable Sides and pick a dish based on whatever veg you’ve got. There will be new veggie side dishes added regularly to increase the selection! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Creamy Garlic Prawns (Shrimp)
Garlic marinated prawns:
- 500g / 1lb peeled prawns/shrimp , large/jumbo best (Note 1)
- 1 garlic cloves , finely minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 15g / 1 tbsp unsalted butter
Creamy garlic sauce:
- 2 garlic clove , finely minced
- 15g / 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (or more chicken stock) (Note 2)
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock/broth , low sodium
- 1 cup heavy/thickened cream
- 1/2 cup parmesan , finely grated (grate your own, Note 3)
- 2 tbsp parsley , finely chopped
Place prawns, garlic, oil and pepper in a bowl. Toss to coat, set aside 20 minutes if time permits (no longer).
Stir through salt just prior to cooking.
Melt 15g / 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add half the prawns and cook for 1 minute on each side, then remove.
Repeat with remaining prawns (you shouldn’t need more butter), then remove. Scrape out excess remaining garlic from pan and add to cooked prawns.
Add butter into skillet and let it melt. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds or until light golden.
Add white wine, turn up heat to high. Bring to simmer while stirring base of the pan to dissolve all the golden bits into the sauce. Cook 1 minute or until it most evaporates and the winey smell is gone.
Add chicken stock and reduce until mostly gone and just a thin layer remains on base of skillet.
Add cream, then simmer on medium heat for 2 minutes until reduced and slightly thickened.
Stir through parmesan, then add the prawns back in. Taste sauce and see if more salt and pepper is needed.
Serve sprinkled with parsley, over mashed potato or something to soak up that fabulous sauce!
Large prawns are best for handling purposes – it’s a pain turning over loads of small prawns, plus they stay plump and juicy.
2. Wine is optional, it adds more depth of flavour into the sauce and used for deglazing the pan (ie dissolving the tasty golden bits left in the skillet from browning the prawns into the sauce = free flavour!)
I use sauvignon blanc or pinot gris (because they’re my drinking wines!). Anything that’s not overly fruity (like some rieslings) or too woody (like some chardonnays) will be fine.
3. Parmesan – you need to grate your own to ensure that it melts. Store-bought pre-grated in any form (sandy, or fine batons) just doesn’t melt properly in sauces. When measuring, remember that freshly grated is aerated so the volume will look far greater than the weight, so you need to pack the cup down lightly (ie 50g / 2oz freshly grated parmesan = over 1 cup in volume, but 1/2 cup lightly packed in.
4. Storage and leftovers – cooked prawns can be kept up to 3 days. Reheat gently on low heat in the microwave for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring once or twice. Careful to ensure the prawns don’t cook further and become overcooked.
5. Nutrition per serving, assuming all sauce is consumed.
Life of Dozer
Life of Dozer and Life of Nagi, perfectly captured in one still.