Alex Morte

Chargrilled Tiger Prawns with Saffron Risotto and Pickled Asparagus

Prepared by Alex Morte,

Professional Chef in London, UK 

For 4 portions


•8 large tiger prawns
•Pinch of salt and pepper
•Squeeze of lemon
•Tablespoon of smoked paprika
•Drizzle of olive oil
Sauce Vierge
•4 plum tomatoes
•Handful of fresh basil
•1/2 a lemon
•Clove of garlic
•70ml of olive oil
•Pinch of salt
•1 egg yolk
•Teaspoon of Dijon mustard
•1 glove of garlic
•520ml Olive oil
•Salt to taste
•Lemon juice to taste
Saffron Risotto
•250g risotto rice
•650ml Saffron stock (warm water & a large pinch of saffron)
•Salt and pepper
•1 shallot
•1 clove is garlic
•50g parmesan cheese
•Salt to taste
•Olive oil
•Unsalted butter
Pickled Asparagus
•4 asparagus spears
•75ml white wine vinegar
•75g white sugar
•50ml water
•Tablespoon fennel seeds
•Sprig of thyme
•Fresh basil leaves
Alex Morte


•First we will start with the prawns. Peel the body of the prawns leaving the tails and heads attached. Marinade in your lemon, smoked paprika, olive oil, salt and pepper. Now cover and leave to one side to cook later.
•Now for the pickled asparagus. Either using a mandolin or potato peeler (I use a mandolin) we want to slice the asparagus length ways to get our ribbons. Put asparagus to one side in a container. For the pickling liquor add your vinegar, water, sugar, fennel seeds and thyme to a pan. Bring to the boil and mix untill all sugar is dissolved. Pour this liquor onto the asparagus and leave for 30 seconds or untill the asparagus is slightly soft and flexible. Then remove from the liquor and leave to one side. Your pickled asparagus is done!
•Next we will make the Aioli. To start with crush your garlic in pestle and mortar untill it is a smooth paste. Add your egg yolk and mustard into a large mixing bowl and whisk by hand untill combined and light in colour. At this stage you can add a little bit of oil, and mix untill combined. Repeat this process untill you see the mixture thickening and starting to resemble mayonnaise. At this stage you can add the oil in slightly larger quantities. Once all the oil is incorporated your Aioli base is complete, just add your garlic paste, salt and lemon juice to taste. If your aioli is too tick add a drop of water and combine to loosen the mix. Put in a squeeze bottle and refrigerate ready to serve! Any left over Aioli will last a few days stores correctly in the fridge so don’t worry!
•Next for the Sauce Vierge. Take your tomatoes and cut them into quarters length ways. Discard of the flesh and seeds, cut the remaining tomato into small cubes and place into a bowl. Add finely sliced garlic and finely chopped basil, then add the lemon juice, oil and salt! Mix all your ingredients together and your sauce vierge is complete!
•Now to make the risotto. Finely dice the shallot and garlic and gently fry in a pan, add your rice and gently cook for a minute or two… be careful not to burn the rice or colour it! Now add your warm stock to the risotto, ladleful at a time untill it absorbs into your rice! Repeat this untill the rice is cooked but with a slight bite still… this should take around 15 minutes! Now add a spoon of butter and your Parmesan and mix together… massaging the risotto untill smooth and creamy! Then season to taste… if the risotto is not wet enough just add a splash more stock or water!
•Last but now least the prawns… just get a pan nice and hot, add some oil and your prawns. Cool for 1-2 mins each side… untill your prawns are cooked and look pink! Be careful as prawns cook very quickly so keep an eye on them and make sure they do not over cook!
•Everything is now ready to plate! Remeber to garnish with fresh basil leaves!

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