Does anyone else find a lot of things that aren’t really cutlery in their cutlery drawer? In my kitchen, it’s the place where all the bric-a-brac languishes that doesn’t have an obvious home. There is a gap of about three inches between the cutlery tray and the edge of the drawer. Some weeks it’s like the seventh circle of hell. There are, among other things, two matchboxes, five bottle caps, a sheet of paracetamol, tampons, a measuring tape, two lip balms, a handful of receipts, a plumber’s bill and a Christmas toy.
At the far end, a stash of small wooden skewers has been taking up space for months, leftovers from an evening when I served glasses of sticky black vermouth with slices of orange and sticks laden with green olives. and anchovies. They always seemed too small for a kebab, but this week, finally deciding they had to go, I wondered if they might work for some juicy prawns.
Shrimp skewers make a great quick dinner when the temperature gauge is in the “too hot to cook” zone. They take about two minutes per side and can be quickly pan-fried, sautéed under the broiler or on the barbecue. I crave lime and smoked chili when it’s hot, so I decided to sprinkle them with smoked paprika and smoked garlic granules, finishing them with lime zest. A tomato salad tossed with a vinaigrette of more lime and crispy chili oil, along with a splash of fish sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil was the perfect accompaniment. If you can, make it ahead of time so the flavors really have a chance to blend, then serve it chilled (but not iced) from the fridge.
You could also serve this with some kind of potato, but I’m inclined to have the prawns with thin flatbreads or wraps, maybe with a dollop of sour cream and a little extra cilantro, dipping the bread in the tomato vinaigrette as you go. Messy and delicious.