Today we are all about grilled prawns!! More specifically, grilled prawns & saffron aioli. Summer has just ended here in Australia, but it's starting to warm up in other countries. Luckily I can still get hold of fresh prawns and veggies in the market. Ask me about pork mince, beef mince, chicken breasts, or even toilet paper, and well, that's a whole different story!! It seems strange to be writing about recipes and food we can cook in these times, but truthfully, at least here in Australia, life still has to go on. So, if you can get yourself some fresh prawns (or even some frozen ones), you can whip up a simple saffron aioli and mango salsa. Enjoy the more beautiful things before the world is in total lockdown, and you are eating spam, frozen peas, and noodles!
What is saffron?
Saffron is the world's most expensive and sought after spice. Luckily for me, the guys at SloFoodGrp hooked me up with some, and boy am I impressed by the quality. So far, I have used it in this recipe to make aioli, to make paella, to have saffron rice with some spiced chicken. Next on my list is dessert, just not sure in what form yet so hit me up if you have any ideas. Saffron is known in the plant world as 'crocus sativus' and is grown in Morocco, Iran, India & Afghanistan, to name a few. It is red in colour with yellow hues too. The saffron that I am lucky enough to work with is a high-quality Negin cut, which is grade 1 saffron. This particular saffron is known as Persian saffron and continues to be the most valued for its colouring and flavour.
What does saffron taste like?
Good question. It's often described floral, some say "pungent," and also honey comes in to play with descriptors. I've even heard dried grass and chili being used too. Truthfully to me, it smells and tastes like saffron. There is no easy way to describe it, in my opinion. It's a distinctive taste and smell. The easiest way to find out is just head to the SloFoodGrp page and buy some 😉
Tips when using saffron
As mentioned above, it's great with rice, making the Spanish classic paella or the French wonder that is Bouillabaisse. I have used it in aioli for this grilled prawns & saffron aioli recipe. To get the best out of it, it is recommended to steep in liquid for 10 minutes or longer to extract that beautiful colour and depth of flavour. Some people suggest using a pestle and mortar with a little salt to help extract the colours. Whatever you do, I'm sure you'll enjoy using the high-quality Saffron that SloFoodGrp offers. They ship worldwide, so no better time to pick up a jar and add a pinch to your next dish. Better yet make my saffron aioli 😉
Homemade aioli is something we may need all the need to make at home soon enough. Given the local stores' shelves are looking bleak on the sauce front, I am trying to stockpile/hold on to the sauces I have. This means making everything fresh until I am stuck at home for X amount of time. Call me crazy, but soon I know I'll be breaking out frozen beef cheek ragu, so I'm trying to enjoy good quality homecooked meals right now! The basics for making aioli are egg yolks, garlic, lemon juice, salt, oil & mustard. You can mix this up a little bit by adding different citrus, a sweetener in the form of maple syrup, spices in the form of paprika, ginger, sriracha, and, in this case, saffron.
Click through this LINK to see how to make my basic aioli. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, then try these other ideas out too!
An Aussie past time! Grilled prawn or shrimp is the quintessential thing many people think about when they think of Australia. Well, aside from snakes, sharks, spiders, and other creatures that can kill you. Luckily this is a food blog and not National Geographic, so I won't go into those guys. I love grilling some prawns on my bbq. Not because I Iive in Australia, but I love that charred flavour you get from grilling them coupled with the sweet prawn meat. When making this grilled prawn & saffron aioli dish, you can definitely substitute smaller fried prawns if you can't bbq or get hold of delicious tiger prawns like these fellas, but try using a grill pan indoors if possible. The extra char is undoubtedly worth it.
A classic salsa - it offers sweetness from juicy ripe mangoes, some sharpness from the raw red onion, acidity from the lime, and spice from the chili. Mixed together, its a WINNER! If you can't get mangoes, then you can use peaches, corn, or tomatoes too. Experiment a little, have fun with it, and don't forget to always taste as you go along so you can balance/adjust those flavours.
I hope with all this doom and gloom right now and most people posting blogs about how many recipes you can make with canned goods that this grilled prawn & saffron aioli recipe will still inspire you to keep cooking fresh food and enjoy time with family and loved ones.
Stay Safe and Happy Cooking Friends!
- 4-6 Whole tiger prawns
- 1/2 Mango chopped into cubes
- 2 tbsp Red onion finely chopped
- 1/2 Red chili finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Coriander finely chopped
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 tsp Lime
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 pinches SloFoodGrp saffron
- 1/2 tsp Sumac
- 2 Egg yolks
- 1 clove Garlic crushed
- 1 pinch Salt
- 200 ml Olive oil
- 1 tsp Lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Maple syrup
- 1 tsp Ice cold water
- Cut prawns using a serrated knife along the back until they can be flattened out, being careful not to cut all the way through. Using a pairing knife find the intestinal sack of the prawn (along the side of the flesh) and remove.
- Drizzle prawns in a little oil and salt and grill on medium to high heat for 2-3 minutes per side or roast in the oven @ 220c/450f for 6 – 7 minutes on a baking tray
- Mix all ingredients together and store in the fridge until ready to use
- Place saffron, sumac, garlic, maple syrup, Dijon, salt, ice cold water & lemon juice in a small food processor and blend to bring together.
- Once blended add egg yolks, blitz and gradually add olive oil until it all comes together and thickens up.
- Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Store in fridge until ready to use.
- Chefs knives
- Chopping board
- Small food processor
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring utensils
- Grill pan/bbq/oven
- If cooking prawns on a bbq (with a lid) reduce cooking time to 2 minutes per side
- I prefer grilling the prawns as you get that nice charred/burnt/smoke flavour
- Aioli will keep for 3 – 5 days in the fridge
- Salsa is best eaten same day but will keep for 1 – 2 days.