A chicken and prawn dish from the Catalan Costa Brava
The Catalan Costa Brava is renowned for its eclectic combinations of poultry and meat with seafood. This dish is enriched and thickened with a picada: a garlicky bread, nut and parsley paste, stirred into the sauce just a few minutes before serving.
For the picada:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, skinned and halved
1 medium slice of rustic bread
50g roasted almonds
A large handful of parsley leaves
For the main dish:
4 chicken legs
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
12 large raw prawns, heads and shells on
2 onions, diced
200g tin of chopped tomatoes
150ml Spanish brandy
300ml chicken stock or water
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme
Start by making the picada. Take a large oven-proof frying pan, clay cazuela or cast iron dish (big enough to
hold all the chicken) and fry the garlic in the olive oil until it gilds and begins to smell fabulous. Set the garlic aside and fry the bread in the same oil until it crisps and soaks up most of the oil.
Now it’s up to you: pestle and mortar and plenty of elbow grease, or a quick blitz in the food processor—the aim is a thick, slightly rough paste. Pound or blitz the garlic, fried bread, almonds and parsley. Keep this for later.
Pre-heat the oven to 190C and continue with the same pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then fry the pieces in the oil until the skin crisps and turns golden.
Set the chicken aside and fry the prawns very briefly in the same oil. Once they are beautifully pink, put them aside
to cool and then keep them in the fridge until ready to use.
Add the onion to the pan and cook gently until it becomes really soft and just begins to turn brown. Add the tomatoes and bubble until the liquid has evaporated.
Pour on the brandy, and boil for a couple of minutes before adding the chicken stock or water and the herbs. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and place in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is well cooked.
Stir in your picada and taste the sauce—you may need some salt. Add the prawns and place back in the oven for about five more minutes. Serve with good bread.