Creamy Spanish chickpeas & prawns

by Jenny Chandler

A rich blend of prawns and pulses, served with plenty of aioli


16-24 shell-on raw prawns (depending on size)
4 tbsp olive oil
4 banana shallots, diced
400g old crop potatoes, peeled, diced and cooked until tender
1 jar of garbanzos or 600g cooked chickpeas
1 tbsp hot, or sweet, smoked paprika (your choice)
½ glass white wine
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
4 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
4 lemon slices

For the aioli:
2 egg yolks
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
250ml mixture of light olive oil and vegetable oil
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon 


To make the aioli, mix the yolks and garlic together in a large bowl then whisk in the oil extremely slowly—drip by drip to begin with, then as the mixture begins to thicken, in a thin, steady stream.

Once you have added about half of the oil and the mayonnaise has become stiff and wobbly, beat in the lemon juice. Gradually pour in the remaining oil, whisking all the time, then season with salt and pepper and a touch more lemon juice if required.

Remove the prawns’ heads and place them in a small saucepan with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. It’s up to you whether you remove the tail shells—shell-on will be messier to eat but give you juicier prawns while shell-off will be a more elegant dining experience—but if you do peel the tails, the shells can join the heads in the pan.

Fry off the heads until they begin to turn pink, then add 3 tbsp of water. Now you need to crush the heads, releasing all the fabulous flavour—use a potato masher and then push the juices through a sieve; a mouli legume would be ideal; or my latest discovery, a potato ricer which looks like a giant garlic press. Set aside the deep orange, prawny juices.

Take a large pan, ideally something you can put on the table later, and fry off the shallot until soft in 1 tbsp olive oil.

Add the diced potato, chickpeas, salt and prawn juices and stir around carefully. Leave over a low flame.

Sprinkle the prawns with the smoked paprika. Heat 1 tbsp oil in your largest frying pan and throw in the prawns. Once you can smell the paprika, it’s time to add the wine (or the delicate spice will burn) and the tomatoes. Cook until the prawns are just firm and the flesh is opaque.

Tip the prawns, tomatoes and juices over the chickpeas, sprinkle with parsley, taste and season.  Serve straight away with a slice of lemon and generous quantities of aioli.

Recipe: Jenny Chandler