Life is hard for us pale city dwellers. If we want to sit outside, we have to go to the park. If we want to eat vegetables, we have to eat the shit Carrefour sells us. If we want pets, we have to scoop their crap out of a litter box and dispose of it, or worse, use a small plastic bag to pick it up off the ground after Rocky carelessly drops it wherever he fancies. For each of these problems, a balcony is a sort of half-way solution: we can sit outside on it, we can grow tomatoes on it (but only about 5 each summer) and if you really wanted to, you could probably keep a pet on it – or at least give Mrs. Whiskers some extra leg room, right? But what everyone really wants is a garden.
To us, having a garden is an unimaginable luxury. To two of our friends, who recently moved house, it is a reality: their new crib came with a small but gorgeous patio. Of course we wanted a little piece of their sweet, sweet happiness, so last week we proposed a barbecue, seemingly in their interest (Nooo, don’t worry, we’ll come to you guys, that way you don’t have to drive!) but in reality for our own greedy purposes. This is how it went down: the men would set up the giant new garden grill (specifically bought for the new patio!), and the ladies would go and take care of the shopping. The division of labour was a bit traditional for my liking, but I wasn’t complaining – I was pretty much in charge of the food choice, which is always great.
Of course my buzz was instantly killed by the following conundrum: my favourite barbecue attendee begged me for a fish barbecue, but the person who was providing the garden and the grill insisted on meat. Quite a pickle to be in, as someone who likes both. I felt obliged to go with the wishes of the garden-owner, but I tried to compromise a little by getting some prawns on top of all the meat that we were having. I remembered a recipe that I’d seen ages ago (and that, at the time, made me go a bit “WTF?”) for prawn wrapped in pancetta, and figured that would do nicely. Prawns are easy to cook without getting your whole grill messy, plus they’re possibly my favourite type of seafood. They turned out pretty well in the end, and everyone was pretty happy.
For 4 people, get about:
- half a kilo of prawns
- 300 gr of pancetta
- 15 – 20 skewers
- a little bit of sweet paprika powder (optional)
I ended up going for half the prawns wrapped in pancetta, the other half just normal. The normal ones can be left in their shell, while the pancetta ones need peeling. You decide.
Soak your wooden skewers in some water so they don’t catch flame later. Peel as many prawns as you want to wrap in bacon. If you’re feeling pretty fastidious, pull out the funky little black and transparent strip from their back and/or stomach. I can’t really be bothered most of the time, to be quite honest with you.
Now start wrapping. Use probably about one slice per prawn. Skewer three wrappend prawns together. Sprinkle them with a tiny little bit of sweet paprika, then stick them on the grill. The pancetta will drip grease, so be prepared to move them around when your glowing coals start flaming again.