Chipotle Prawns with Adobo Mayonnaise and Capsicum Salsa

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I haven’t always liked prawns. I remember the first prawn I ever ate. It was at one of my parents’ work christmas parties in some garage somewhere. As is mandatory at every Australian Christmas party, adorning the plastic tablecloth covered trestle tables, were huge platters of prawns with Thousand Island sauce, ready for fingers to get filthy dirty and smelly, peeling those little morsels of apparent deliciousness.

I thought they looked like the most disgusting things I could imagine. The way all the adults were ripping off the heads and then the rest of the shell and then just popping the whole thing into their mouths! My brother and I were horrified!

But Mum wouldn’t let us say we didn’t like something unless we tried it (which I’m grateful for now!) This was a tough one though, a special occasion I suppose. Mum actually bribed us with $2 each just to try a prawn! ($2 back in the 90’s could get you a serious amount of lollies at the newsagent!) So, I went first, after watching Mum rip the head and skin off this gross little worm looking thing, I closed my eyes and popped it into my mouth. It was gross! A yucky salty tough bit of stuff that I chewed as fast as I could and swallowed with watery eyes. Next was my brothers turn (he had to now, seeing as he copied everything I did, haha). I don’t think the prawn lasted more than half a second in his mouth before he spat it across the room! Classic.

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I think I was scarred by this experience and only ate another one about five years ago. It was at another christmas bash and I only ate it because I didn’t want to be rude. It wasn’t that bad but I’m still not a fan of eating prawns in this way.

Thankfully I have discovered that they are actually delicious if cooked in the right way! Think squid ink pasta with lemon and chilli prawns, or greek prawn saganaki with feta, or prawn tempura with soy dipping sauce. YUM! I’m getting hungry now!

Winter here in Newcastle this year has been very nice to us, I even lay out in the backyard on the weekend and got a bit of a tan! This type of weather has been getting me excited for this summer to come, now that we live in a house with a backyard! I can’t wait to fix up the garden and get a nice little herb garden happening. I also can’t wait to get some furniture out the back, so many warm night, outdoor dinners to look forward to!

This dish will be on high rotation this summer I think! It’s so quick and easy and delicious, I think it’s probably the best way I have ever eaten prawns! Very simple but so full of fresh and punchy flavours!  The Chipotle chillies in Adobo sauce are a star here, but if you can’t find them, use regular chillies and up the amount of smoked paprika.

You can serve these prawns with any of your favourite South American or Spanish types of sides. We have had them with soft tortillas, guacamole and salad, or rice, sweet potato chips and sour cream. You can’t really go wrong.

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Chipotle Prawns (original recipe)

Ingredients

1kg green prawns, peeled, deveined, tails intact

3 chipotle chillies in adobo sauce, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp smoked paprika

zest of 1 lime

2 tbs lemon oil

salt and pepper

Capsicum salsa

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 small red capsicum, finely chopped

1 long red chilli, de-seeded, finely chopped

2 kumatos, de-seeded, finely chopped

1 bunch coriander, leaves and tender stalks finely chopped

2-3 limes juiced

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

To serve

Adobo mayonnaise (combine whole egg mayonnaise with some adobo sauce from the chillies as well as some salt and pepper, all to taste)

Tortilla chips (brush tortillas with lemon/ olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cut into wedges and bake until crisp)

Baby cos lettuce leaves

Method

If using wooden skewers soak in water until ready to use (at least and hour)

Combine prawns with remaining ingredients and leave to marinate for 1-2 hours.

Meanwhile, for the salsa, combine ingredients and leave in the fridge, stirring often to combine flavours.

Make tortilla chips (if using), and prepare lettuce leaves.

To cook prawns, thread from head end to tail end onto skewers. Pre-heat grill or bbq, cook prawns on high for 1-2 mins per side, or until cooked.

Serve immediately with sides.

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