Zizzi garlic king prawns is one of my favourite starters. Ever. Fact. I discovered them maybe 4 years ago (Constance was a baby in the buggy! Bless) when we had a large family meal for Eleanor’s grandads birthday. There was 40 of us, the poor restaurant didn’t know where to start. It was a restricted menu because of this and as much as I love their crispy calamari rings, I wanted to try something different. You can tell it was a defining culinary moment for me as I remember it all so well! If I had a final 3 course meal to end my days on this would still be the starter.
Zizzi’s menu describes the starter as “Shell-on, pan fried in garlic, smoky romesco pepper sauce & white wine. Served (at the time) with little soul breads”. It’s now served on toasted focaccia. A move I haven’t quite forgiven them for yet. The little soul breads we’re pretty much pizza dough balls shaped and allowed to prove a bit longer. Light, fluffy and yet substantial, the best thing to soak up and devour any remaining sauce!
It’s 2020 and for those of you who haven’t paid much attention to the news, we’re in the back end of the global covid19 pandemic. Which has meant two things when it comes to this dish, the restaurant was closed for a long while and because of poxy rules even when it has been open, Eleanor & I haven’t been able to enjoy an evening out because of childcare. Fun right? With lockdowns all kicking off in March of this year, it means I haven’t eaten this dish in 9 months nearly. 9 months! Admittedly I’m more annoyed at myself for not doing this sooner.
Zizzi’s very kindly released a load of zizzi recipes to try at home during the first UK lockdown in 2020 but, much to my absolute dismay, this wasn’t one of them! So if like me you’ve been craving your favorite zizzi recipes, you’ve had to work them out for yourselves!
It’s now December and whilst this isn’t a dish that you’d usually think of as a winter warmer, I couldn’t resist. It’s been miserable outside. It’s cold, it’s wet and all I want is just a little bit of sunshine. This will have to do to brighten my day.
How to make this Zizzi Garlic King Prawns copycat recipe
My version of this dish uses a home-made romesco sauce. It’s taken a couple of attempts to get it right. Zizzi’s version, or the sauce they use, is super smoky and has just the right amount of tang. I think I had nailed it! It’s super quick to make and incredibly delicious. Makes me wonder why I had to wait in the restaurants all those times!
It really hasn’t varied too much from the original zizzi recipe. It’s shell on butterflied king prawns, sautéed in garlic, butter, white wine and a romesco pepper sauce. I’ve substituted the focaccia to a half toasted ciabatta roll. Made it much easier to pick up and wipe up the sauce once the prawns were devoured.
There is a big of a fiddly bit to this recipe which, dependent on your dexterity and patience, will change this from a “quick and easy” recipe to a bit of an epic. That of course is deveining the king prawns. I’ve not cooked them too many times and so it was a bit tricky. I’d suggest finding a decent video on Youtube to help if you’re new to it too.
One tip I will share with you however is to butterfly the king prawns using a knife with a serrated blade. It’s a lot easier to cut through the shell of the raw prawn. Anything else will just slip off and that’s just cut finger territory.
So here it is, my very quick and very easy copycat recipe for Zizzi Garlic King Prawns.
Copycat Recipe: Zizzi Garlic King Prawns
- 12 Jumbo King Prawns, shell on, de veined and butterflied 6 per portion
- 20 g Salted Butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp romesco sauce If you don't have a romesco sauce to hand, use a roasted red pepper pesto. Or you can find the recipe for a quick and easy romesco in the recipes section on this blog
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 75 ml dry white wine
- 1 Ciabatta Roll Half per portion
- Flatleaf Parsley To garnish
- Cut the ciabatta roll in half. Drizzle olive oil onto the cut side of each half and put under a hot grill until toasted. Crack on with the other steps until it's ready but keep an eye not to burn it. When ready, leave to one side.
- Add the butter to a frying pan over a medium-high heat
- Add the minced garlic
- Add the king prawns
- When the king prawns begin to change (this will happen quite quickly) – add the white wine and reduce by half. Give the frying pan a shake to move the the prawns and coat them.
- Once the wine has reduced, add the romesco sauce and reduce the heat. Don't forget to give it a good stir and coat those beautiful prawns. You're not looking to cook the romesco really, just heat it up!
- Once the prawns are cooked through, remove from the heat
- In a wide rimmed bowl, add the ciabatta. Place the garlic king prawns on top and spoon over the top some of the romesco sauce. Drizzle some around the bowl as well. Looks nice and you'll want to mop it all up. Garnish with flatleaf parsley and your done!