These very small, wild-caught marine or estuarine prawns (Metapenaeus macleayi) can be fried and eaten heads, tails and all. Serve with mayo or aioli spiked with whatever turns you on - preserved lemon, dukkah, sweet chilli sauce, roasted red peppers, smoky chipotle in adobo, etc - and wedges of lemon or lime.
400g small raw school prawns
75g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
Oil for deep-frying
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
4 thyme or rosemary sprigs
sea salt, for serving
2 tbsp aioli or mayonnaise, for serving
1 lemon or lime, quartered, for serving
1. Rinse and pat dry the prawns, and snip off any overly long whiskers.
2. Mix the flour, salt and paprika on a plate.
3. Heat the oil to 180C or until a cube of bread turns golden in about 10 seconds.
4. Mix the garlic, chilli and herbs together, lightly dust with flour, and deep-fry for 20 seconds until crisp. Remove and drain.
5. Working in small batches, coat the prawns in the flour and shake off excess (best done through a colander) and deep-fry quickly until golden, then drain. Toss with sea salt and scatter with the fried chilli, garlic and herbs.
Article Hot food: School prawns