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Barbecue Secrets

Recipes of the week: Grilled Prawns Three Ways

Jul 10, 2015

Rum and Honey Prawn Skewers

Makes 8 kebabs, enough for 2 lunch-sized portions or 8 hors d’oeuvres

The combination of rum, honey, and fresh mint is a revelation in this simple, delicious dish.

For the basting sauce:
2 Tbsp | 25 mL chopped fresh mint
1½ tsp | 7 mL lime juice
1 jigger Appleton Estate dark rum
1/3 cup | 75 mL liquid honey
1 tsp | 5 mL Dijon mustard
2 tsp | 10 mL vegetable oil
kosher salt to taste

For the prawns:
eight 7-inch | 18 cm bamboo skewers, soaked for at least 1 hour
16 extra large prawns, peeled and deveined (with tails on)
kosher salt
lime wedges and chopped mint for garnish

Whisk together the basting sauce ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle about 1⁄3 of the sauce over the prawns, tossing them to coat them. Set aside the rest of the sauce.
            Assemble 8 skewers with 2 prawns on each.
            Prepare the grill for medium direct heat. Place the kebabs on the cooking grate. Cover the grill and cook them for 3–5 minutes, turning and basting the kebabs regularly, until the prawns are firm to the touch. Season them with a sprinkle of salt and serve them with some of the remaining basting sauce drizzled over them. Garnish them with lime wedges and a sprinkle of chopped mint.

Super-easy Grilled Jumbo Prawns with Curry Paste

My pal Kosta the fishmonger shared this great, simple way to grill jumbo prawns. Butterfly them (split them in half lengthwise, which makes it easy to remove the vein) and coat them with a mixture of your favorite curry paste cut with a little neutral flavored oil (about 3 Tbsp | 45 mL curry paste mixed with 1 Tbsp |15 mL oil will coat a dozen prawns). Grill the prawns over high heat for about a minute or two per side, and finish them by tossing them in a pan with some melted butter. Serve them with lemon wedges for an outstanding appetizer.

Skewered Prawns Pistou

Makes 4 main course servings or 12 appetizer-sized servings

Pistou is the French equivalent of the Italian pesto sauce. In this version I’ve added toasted nuts, anchovies, and lemon zest for an extra kick. The pistou is great with prawns, and these jumbo skewers create a spectacular impression. This sauce also works well as a coating for roast lamb.

For the pistou:
1/4 cup | 50 mL lightly toasted pecans (almonds or pine nuts are also excellent)
2 cups | 500 mL loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup | 250 mL loosely packed flat-leaf Italian parsley
12 anchovy fillets, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup | 75 mL extra virgin olive oil
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated or chopped

For the prawns:
twelve 6-inch | 15 cm bamboo skewers, soaked for at least 1 hour
12 jumbo prawns, in their shells
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 cherry or grape tomatoes
lemon wedges for garnish

Combine the pecans, basil, parsley, anchovies, and garlic in a food processor and process them until they’re smooth. Add the oil slowly in a thin stream while the processor is running. Transfer the pistou to a bowl, add the zest, and stir the pistou thoroughly. Transfer about 1⁄2 cup | 125 mL of the pistou to a serving bowl and reserve it for dipping.
            Season the prawns with salt and pepper. Toss them with the remaining pistou and refrigerate them for 20 minutes or up to 1 hour. When you’re ready to cook them, thread one prawn onto each skewer, with a cherry tomato threaded between the tail and the head.
            Prepare the grill for medium direct heat. Place the prawns on the cooking grate, cover the grill, and cook for 1 or 2 minutes per side, or until just cooked through. Serve them with the extra pistou for dipping and garnish them with lemon wedges.