Recipe: Barbecue Pesto Prawns with Pea, Feta & Avocado Salad
While the inside of my parents new house needs a lot of work (seriously, as work is needed they’ve barely unpacked, so we can’t find anything and there are entire rooms just full of boxes!), the gardens, so lovingly designed and tended by the last owner are in their prime at the moment, so I’ve been grabbing as many weekends as I can down in the country, sitting on the patio with a good book, and barbecuing for almost every single meal. So, when the team at Appletiser wanted to team up to throw a barbecue, I thought it made the perfect excuse to throw together something a bit more special (but just as easy as) our usual barbecued steak.
It seems like there are a lot of elements to this meal, but I’ve designed it for a lazy Sunday. Literally the hardest thing to do is to make sure to buy your avocados a few days in advance so that they’re perfectly ripe. You can lay the table while the barbecue is heating up, make the salad and marinate the prawns while the courgettes are cooking, and heat the bread while the prawns are turning a lovely pink on the grill. Oh, and make sure you’ve chilled your Appletiser in advance! and did I mention that this is such a fresh looking and tasting meal, because practically everything from the drinks to the prawns to the salad is green?
While I have done Herby Lemon & Garlic Barbecue Prawn Skewers, and Giant Cajun Barbecue Shrimp before, these Barbecue Pesto Prawns are my easiest grilled prawn recipe yet, because literally all you do is coat raw prawns in jarred pesto, before sticking them on skewers and searing them until cooked. A little pro-tip: if you dry the prawns off on kitchen towel (you should buy them frozen as prawns decompose raw the moment they leave the water and die, so most good quality frozen prawns are shelled and frozen right out there on the fishing boats to keep them as fresh as possible) to remove any excess water, the pesto will stick better.
The bread is our little cheat. While I love making homemade bread, if we’re in a bread with our barbecue (rather than a potato or grain salad) kind of mood, there will never be enough time for me to make a good loaf. As a family we’re more than a little bit obsessed with this Waitrose Noccelara Olive Fougasse, which tastes amazing, and you can cook from frozen. You want to be enjoying the summer outside, so I’m all for delicious shortcuts (e.g. jarred pesto rather than homemade will stick to the prawns better, anyway!)
The amounts below will serve about 3-4 people, and you’ll need two bottles of Appletiser to keep everyone well watered. Serve it in wine goblets with ice, to make things a bit more special. I’ve not done a dessert here because in summer we usually have several flavours of homemade ice cream stashed in the freezer, so can I suggest – to stick to the green theme – my Mint Aero Ice Cream, or simply a scoop of my Eton Mess Ice Cream? You could use the ice cream to make my Easy Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches, or just serve up a big platter of fresh berries to go with the frozen treats?
For the Barbecue Pesto Prawns + Griddled Courgettes
- 225g – 235g Pack Frozen Raw King Prawns, defrosted
- 3 tbsp Pesto
- 1 Small Courgette Per Person
- Course Sea Salt
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Pea, Feta & Avocado Salad
- 1 Small Pack Sweet Mixed Salad Leaves
- 2-3 Large Handfuls Pea Shoots
- 2 Handfuls Fresh Peas (or frozen Petite Pois, defrosted)
- 100g Feta
- 1 Large (or 2 Small) Ripe Avocados
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Your Favourite Salad Dressing (we always make the Truffle Vinaigrette from Chef On A Diet)
To prepare the prawns, pat them dry and stir them into the pesto in a small bowl. Try to touch the prawns as little as possible and use a spoon for this; the heat from your fingers can start cooking them. Thread them onto barbecue skewers (two skewers per person) and set aside. You’ll need to cook these on the barbecue after the courgettes that take longer to cook – the prawns are done simply when they’ve turned a beautiful pink on each side. These you’ll need to half lengthwise, brush with extra virgin olive oil and scatter with sea salt before barbecuing until tender.
To make the salad, layer the mixed lettuce and pea shoots in a big serving bowl. Scatter over the peas, and crumble over the feta. Grind over a bit of black pepper to season the feta – it also looks pretty. Finally, peel, core and slice the avocado, and finish the salad. Serve whichever dressing you like at the table so you don’t make the leaves too soggy or overpower the avocado and the cheese; vinaigrettes work beautifully in this recipe. If you don’t have a favourite, simply whisk up some extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar, adjusting how much you add of each to taste.
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