“I like to keep it simple when cooking with prawns,” says Andrew McConnell of Melbourne’s Cutler & Co. “The beautiful flavour from the shells when cooking over wood or charcoal should be complemented, not overpowered; this smoky chilli oil works very well as a light dressing, giving the prawns the respect they deserve.”
12 very large tiger prawns (100gm each), butterflied through the back
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 lemons, cut into wedges
Fennel fronds, to serve
100 gm dried ancho chilli (see note), chopped
2 golden shallots, halved
3 garlic cloves
250 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil
3 tsp smoked paprika
60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced on a mandoline
1For chilli oil, warm chillies, shallot and garlic in oil in a saucepan over very low heat until garlic starts to turn golden, adding paprika for the last 2 minutes of cooking (20-30 minutes). Cool to room temperature (1-2 hours), then strain through muslin.
2For fried garlic, heat oil in a frying pan over low heat. Add garlic, stirring to separate, and fry until light golden (2-3 minutes; be careful, garlic will burn quickly). Drain and spread on paper towels to cool.
3Preheat a barbecue to high heat. Brush prawns with olive oil and season with a pinch of sea salt. Grill prawns, shell-side down and covered loosely with foil, until just cooked through (4-8 minutes). Season to taste.
4Divide prawns among plates, spoon 2 tsp chilli oil over each, scatter with fried garlic and fennel fronds and serve with lemon wedges.