Yucatan grilled king prawns with avocado salsa

The avocado salsa is delicious with any meat or seafood. To provide a second salsa, I like to dice tomatoes and mix with chopped chipotle chillies in adobo sauce. For the perfect lunch, serve the prawns with some warm tortillas and a shredded cabbage and cucumber salad dressed with olive oil and lemon.


  • 1kg whole king prawns

  • For the marinade
  • 8 cloves garlic, skin on
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (use Mexican if possible)
  • pinch ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste

  • For the salsa
  • 1 medium red capsicum
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 tbsp pickled jalapeños, finely diced
  • ¼ cup packed coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • Sea salt, to taste


For the marinade, wrap the garlic cloves (with skin on) in foil and place in an oven at 180°C. Roast for about 30 minutes, until soft. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the garlic into a mortar. Add sugar, oregano and spices and pound to form a smooth paste. Combine with vinegar, then place the mixture into a bowl. Whisk in oil and season to taste.

Peel and devein prawns, add to the marinade and leave in a refrigerator for about half an hour.

For the salsa, split and deseed the capsicum. Finely cut into 5mm dice. Place in a large mixing bowl. Dice the onion and jalapeños the same size and add to the bowl with the chopped coriander. Cut the avocado into large dice and add to the bowl with the lime juice. Season to taste and toss gently. For better flavour, let the salsa rest for 10 minutes or longer.

Fire up the barbecue to a medium heat, making sure the grill bars are clean and well-oiled. Remove the prawns from the marinade and drain well. Grill prawns for a minute or two on each side, depending on their size, then place on a plate, covered with foil, to rest for a minute.

Serve the prawns on a platter, drizzled with any resting juices and with the salsa on the side.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
This Spanish grape variety comes in a "joven" style: a younger, juicier, simpler style that's made for food. A great example comes from the Adelaide Hills: the 2015 Jericho Tempranillo shows off fresh blueberries, black cherries and rhubarb along with some fine, chalky tannins and a dry finish.

First published in the Good Weekend.

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