Char-Grilled Prawns with Chili & Cilantro Dre...

Char-Grilled Prawns with Chili & Cilantro Dressing

Grilled Prawns on plate

You don’t need to tote a grill along on your outdoor dining excursions to enjoy the telltale savory char of perfectly grilled foods in your picnic spread. Not all grilled proteins work well for making ahead, but prawns (or shrimp) are just as delicious at room temperature, or even slightly chilled, as they are straight from the fire. In his story “A Portuguese Picnic” food photographer Filipe Lucas Frazão, he prepares this recipe for grilled prawns with a bright, punchy dressing of roasted garlic, fresh cilantro and lime juice.

Neatly nestled onto their wooden skewers, these prawns pack up easily in a picnic basket with the dressing in a small jar on the side. Once plated, this dish is a sophisticated addition to the bread, cheeses, hearty salads, and other requisite picnic fare.

Char-Grilled Prawns with Chili & Cilantro Dressing

Serves 5
Recipe by Filipe Lucas Frazão

Total Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Active Cooking Time: 40 minutes


  • 20 prawns, shelled, leaving the tail
  • Olive oil
  • Wood skewers, soaked in water prior to grilling sea salt



  • 1 head of garlic
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus zest
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 red chilies, chopped (leave the seeds if you like it extra hot)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 390°F.

Trim the top off the head of garlic, just enough to expose the tops of the garlic cloves. Wrap it in aluminium foil and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The garlic is ready when it is completely soft; test with a knife to check. Allow to cool slightly when done.

For the dressing, carefully remove the part of the garlic skin that is loose and squeeze the garlic head from underneath to force the contents out. Crush roughly with a fork in a small bowl.

Add the onion, olive oil, lime zest and juice, sugar, chilli, cilantro and a pinch of salt. Mix well and set aside.

Place the prawns into a large bowl and season with a little olive oil. Toss until prawns are well coated in oil.

Skewer the prawns, 3-4 prawns per skewer. Heat a chargrill pan, or an outdoor grill. When very hot grill the prawns for 2-3 minutes on each side, making sure to not overcook them. Remove from heat as soon as they turn pink on both sides.

Season with a pinch of sea salt, drizzle with dressing and serve.

Ready to pack an elegant picnic? Try this roasted tomato quinoa salad, caramelized onion phyllo packages, and 

Photos by Filipe Lucas Frazão

Emily Kovach is the Web Editor at Spoonful Magazine. She’s a fan of oysters, dumplings, nearly every kind of cheese, hoppy beers, and gin cocktails. While she’s intrigued by the incredible food scene in her hometown of Philadelphia, her favorite meals are at home, shared on the back porch with her cozy little family and their dog Jacket.


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