Prawns (shrimp) bathed in a creamy garlic sauce piled on top of cheesy potatoes with a side of asparagus, all cooked inside a foil packet. And this foil packet recipe isn’t even about less washing up. It’s about the prawn juices dripping down onto the potatoes, basting them in the best ever broth! Grill it, bake it or even cook these on the stove!
This is my prawn (shrimp) version of Fish en Pappillote, which sounds super fancy but actually just means “fish in a bag” (it’s French). Finely sliced potato, vegetables, topped with fish, some basic seasonings, herbage of some sort, then baked inside a paper parcel. This method of cooking seals in the moisture and flavour inside the bag, and has the added benefit of less washing up.
I recall it being a regular in my mother’s meal rotation when I was a kid. And I hated it. I always thought it was so bland. I had no appreciation for the delicate flavour of the fish, and the fragrant herby aroma that wafted out of the parcel when it was opened. Even as a kid, I was all about the kapow! flavours that I still love today.
I’m going to be honest – it is still not my favourite and I never make it. At least, not the traditional way.
Enter – Prawn en Pappillote. My way! 🙂
Based on the same principal as en Pappillote, this foil packet recipe is comprised of creamy cheesy potatoes that are topped with prawns in a creamy garlic sauce, and a token side of steamed asparagus to round out the meal.
There’s nothing tricky about this – not even the forming the parcel (watch the video below the recipe to see how to fold it, it’s super simple). And truly, it is amazing when you open the foil packet, you are greeted with the sight of perfectly cooked prawns piled on top of creamy cheesy potatoes and you just know this is light years away from any memory you may have of bland steamed foil packet meals! (Wait – or is it just me??)
And I truly do mean it when I say this isn’t just about less washing up. In fact, that is a side benefit.
This foil packet recipe is truly about retaining all those flavours and juices inside the packet, so not a single drop of flavour is wasted. Every single time you sear something in a pan, you are leaving flavour behind. Every time you bake something, flavour drips and evaporates on the baking tray. Every time you grill something on your BBQ, flavour is left on those grills.
But not with this!!! Every drop of flavour is captured and retained in that foil packet – your dinner!
My favourite way to cook this is in the oven – just 10 minutes – but it can also be grilled or even cooked on the stove, though when cooked on the stove it is a wee bit less saucier because even inside the foil packet, the direct contact with the heat causes the sauce to cook out faster. Hope you enjoy! – Nagi xx
PS Feel free to add more veggies, just as long as they are chopped to size so they will steam in 10 – 12 minutes. 🙂
- 600 g / 1.2 lb potatoes , peeled and cut into 1.5cm cubes
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup thickened / heavy cream
- 30 - 50 g / 2 - 3 tbsp butter (more = richer!)
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 20 - 24 prawns/shrimp , peeled and deveined, tail on or off
- 3/4 - 1 cup mozzarella or other melting cheese of choice
- 2 - 3 bunches asparagus , trimmed then cut in half, fat ones vertically cut in half (Note 1)
- Finely chopped parsley
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes or until just cooked.
Drain potatoes, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme. Toss to coat.
Meanwhile, place the cream, butter and garlic in a heatproof bowl. Microwave 30 - 40 seconds on high, until butter melts when stirred. If time permits, cool (place in fridge to speed up). (Note 1)
Preheat oven to 200C/390F (standard) or 180C/350F (fan/convection) or BBQ on medium high with hood down.
Tear 4 x 45cm/18" pieces of heavy duty foil (Note 2).
Divide potatoes among foil sheets. Top with cheese, then prawns and asparagus, then drizzle over cream sauce.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley.
Bring the long ends of the foil together over the prawns, then fold down to seal, then fold in the sides (watch video, it's easy!)
Place on a baking tray or BBQ and cook for 10 minutes (small prawns) - 12 minutes (medium prawns). (Note 4)
Serve immediately - do not leave them sitting around inside the unopened packet, the prawns and asparagus will overcook and leech water, making the sauce watery.
1. Asparagus - Break or cut woody ends off asparagus (woody ends will break of naturally), then cut in half.
2. Cooling the sauce thickens it (because of the butter) so when you pour it over the prawns, it coats it more thickly. That way when you open the packet, there is cream sauce on the prawns. But it is fine to skip the cooling because you will want to squidge the prawns in the cream sauce pooled at the bottom of the foil packet anyway!
3. Heavy duty foil is available at supermarkets and it is slightly thicker than normal foil. It is insurance to avoid the foil packet from leaking. You could use paper inside the foil if baking, or a double layer of foil. Or live dangerously and risk it with a single piece of normal foil! Do not use paper if cooking this on the BBQ - it will burn.
4. Raw prawns hang straight, cooked prawns form a "C" shape, overcooked prawns curl tightly into an "O" shape. Take a peek to ensure prawns are cooked - they should not be translucent, they should be opaque.
5. OTHER VEGGIE IDEAS: Anything that will cook in 10 minutes inside the foil. Thinly sliced carrots, frozen corn or peas (thaw them so they don't bring down the temp of the packet), broccoli (split in half lengthwise), finely sliced fennel, onion, baby or normal spinach (bunch them up on one side), pumpkin or sweet potato instead of normal potato (cook them per recipe), green beans, quartered brussel sprouts.
6. Nutrition assuming 2 tbsp butter and 3/4 cup cheese is used.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Creamy Garlic Prawns and Cheesy Potatoes Foil Packet recipe video!
LIFE OF DOZER
Seriously. Come on! I’m trying to CLEAN!