Angry Prawns Recipe & Wine Pairing

A common new year’s resolution is to cook more, and this “Angry Prawns” recipe, courtesy of Bottega Napa Valley’s Chef Michael Chiarello is the best place to start. The idea behind this dish is to layer the flavors. It is a one-pan recipe that has everything you’re looking for: it’s quick, easy, and delicious. 

The secret ingredient is Calabrian chiles, a cherished ingredient from Chef Chiarello’s mother’s hometown that lends this appetizer a nice kick. Made with fiery peppers from the toe of Italy’s “boot”, Calabrian chile paste gives the prawns bright heat and umami, hence the name, “angry prawns”. 

This rapid-cook dish is just as perfect for entertaining as it is for a weeknight at home. When it comes to plating, feel free to get creative. The prawns can be skewered to make no-hassle passed hors d’oeuvres or placed on a platter alongside your favorite cocktail sauce. At Bottega, the prawns are artfully served atop a smear of creamy passata sauce on a wood board to achieve an effortless rustic look. 

However you serve this dish, hot or cold, skewered or plated, it will certainly benefit from being paired with Frank Family’s Lewis Vineyard Chardonnay. Chardonnay and shellfish make a natural pairing, but the thoughtful preparation of these prawns with ingredients like oranges, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh basil match beautifully with the fresh acidity and creamy texture of our estate-grown Chardonnay.

The Ingredients

6 largeuncooked prawns, peeled (heads left on, tail shells removed), deveined
⅓ cupextra-virgin olive oil (or as needed)
1 tablespooncoarse sea salt (gray salt)
4 clovesgarlic, thinly sliced
1 smalSerrano Chile, thinly sliced
1 cupfresh whole basil leaves
1 ½ teaspoonsgrated orange peel
3 tablespoonsCalabrian hot pepper paste

The Method

1. Season shrimp on both sides with salt. In 10-inch skillet, heat 1/3 cup of the oil over high heat. Add prawns to skillet in single layer. (Do not toss or move prawns.) Cook about 3 minutes. Turn prawns over; cook until browned. Remove prawns from skillet.
2. Add garlic to hot oil in skillet; cook and stir until light brown, adding more oil if necessary. Add Serrano Chile; cook until soft. Carefully add basil (water in skillet will pop). Cook 45 to 60 seconds or until crisp. Add Calabrian Chiles to hot pan, cook for 1 minute. Stir orange peel into basil mixture in skillet. Remove from heat.
3. Return prawns to skillet; toss to combine in the basil Chile mixture.
4. Spoon preferred cocktail sauce onto platter or individual plates. Top with prawns; spoon basil mixture with some of its oil over top.