Achiote prawns with nasturtium pesto

Achiote prawns with nasturtium pesto

Achiote prawns with nasturtium pesto

Summer and the holiday season go hand in hand in this part of the world, and that quite often means fresh seafood will make some kind of appearance on the festive lunch or dinner table.

I’m more than happy with boiled chilled prawns – perhaps served with a condiment of some variety – and of course, free flowing vino or ice cold beer.

Throw in a cooked mud crab and I’m a very happy camper.

Achiote prawns with nasturtium pesto

An easy way to trick up prawns is to give them a bit of a go on the barbecue. Yes, a bit of a cliché thanks to Paul Hogans marketing stint back in the mid 1980’s, but there’s something truly magical about prawns cooked over flames.

The smell, the taste – it’s all too good to resist.

Achiote prawns with nasturtium pesto

I’ve taken the “shrimp on the barbie” cliché and introduced some flavours from the other side of the world – the Yucatán, to be precise. Now that achiote paste has part time residency in our fridge at home I’ve been adding it here and there to ramp up the flavours.

I love it!

Not only did I use achiote to marinade the prawns, but fresh pineapple came along for the ride. A bit of tart sweetness that helps in the flavour department. It’s a natural tenderiser, so the prawns don’t need to marinate for long. If you leave them too long they’ll soften too much, resulting in a pasty consistency that’s not too pleasant to eat.

I’ve even tried this marinade on pork and chicken – it really is a winner!

Nasturtium leaves

To serve the prawns it can be as simple as tossing a handful of fresh lime wedges on the platter. I went a little fancy by making a small batch of pesto from the rather unruly nasturtium vines growing in my front garden. They not only bring a peppery flavour that’s akin to watercress, but the colour looks pretty smashing against the bright orange of the achiote prawns.

Give it a go!

Achiote prawns with nasturtium pesto

 

Print Recipe
Achiote prawns with nasturtium pesto
Grilled prawns spiced with achiote. Perfect on their own or served with this vibrant nasturtium pesto.
Achiote prawns with nasturtium pesto
Course Starters
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prawns
Nasturtium pesto
Course Starters
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prawns
Nasturtium pesto
Achiote prawns with nasturtium pesto
Instructions
Prawns
  1. Prepare the prawns by slicing down the back of each one, deep enough to remove the vein.
  2. Place the pineapple, achiote, oil and chilli into a blender or processor and blitz until puréed. Pour the marinade over the deveined prawns, gently mix and refrigerate no more than 2 hours.
  3. To cook the prawns, heat a bbq or char grill and cook on both sides for a couple of minutes. Serve immediately with nasturtium pesto, wedges of fresh lime and nasturtium leaves and flowers.
Pesto
  1. Wash and rinse the nasturtium well. Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Blitz until smooth. Check for seasoning.
  2. Done!
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  • This is a fabulous way to use achiote and one that I am going to try becaues it is just so good. Photos are gorgeous.

  • Barry Ozmo

    nasturtium pesto i guess would work pretty well with those fine ingredients.thanks for the idea.suppose to be some really good prawns around for the festive season.the cost here seems to be around the 40 mark for top of the range kings.chilli crab yes please !.festive salutations to you and all your readers.

  • John – I can’t wait until nasturtium season here in Tucson! Mark will love this, as he is a big nasturtium fan. And, of course, achiote is a staple here in the Southwest! The thing I love best about barbecued shrimp, is that it brings out the sweetness of those little crustaceans!

  • I have nasturtium growing in the garden, and I guess I’m a bit late to the party in not realizing that I could eat it, let alone make pesto from it. Thanks for that!

  • Nasturtium pesto is such an awesome idea. I have a friend who often has an abundance of nasturtium leaves – I’ll have to let her know about this terrific recipe.

  • You’ve just convinced to me plant nasturtiums this spring!! Although here right it is winter so I’ll have to wait a bit. I’ve just signed up for your posts and to say I’m blown away by your photos is an understatement!! I am looking forward to following you closely — NO I’m not stalking — just absolutely amazed by your talent.

  • Josie Spicer

    Nasturtiums are basically a weed in our apartment complex so I’m happy to have found another use for them. Cheers.

  • KevinIsCooking

    This one sounds right up my alley in flavor profile. Fantastic idea with the pesto!

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