All you need is a grill plate and a cast-iron pot. The mussel broth becomes a bit smoky from the grilled prawns, and it’s amazing to mop up with a good sourdough loaf ripped into chunks. I first made this at home for friends and family, and it was a real hit. Obviously, using super-fresh seafood is what makes this dish so good, so buy quality and let your ingredients do the hard work for you.
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 long red chillies, finely chopped
80 ml olive oil
8 large king prawns, shells on, butterflied and deveined
1 large onion, roughly diced
300 ml white wine
1/4 bunch of thyme
2 bay leaves
350 ml cream
1 kg pipis
1 kg mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/2 bunch basil, leaves picked and torn
1/4 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
sourdough bread, to serve
Light a wood or charcoal fire, or preheat the barbecue on high.
Combine half the garlic and chilli with 2 tablespoons of the oil, season heavily with salt and brush evenly over the prawns.
Once the flames have died down and the coals have a coating of white ash, put a large cast-iron pot on the coals. Add the remaining oil and fry the onion and remaining garlic and chilli until softened. Add the white wine, thyme and bay leaves and bring to a rolling boil for a minute or so. Add the cream and bring back to the boil. Add the pipis then 3 minutes later, add the mussels and cover. Once the mussels and pipis open, take the pot off the coals. Add the basil, parsley, lemon zest and juice, and season with pepper only, as there will be enough salt coming from the juice of the mussels and pipis.
Take your butterflied prawns, season them with salt and char flesh-side down on a grill plate over your now very hot barbecue. After a minute or so, flip them over for 45 seconds.
Add the prawns to the pot, so that they’re half in the liquid and serve with a big wedge of sourdough – I like to put the bread in the fire for a few minutes before serving, so that it’s really soft and hot, and a little charred.
This is an edited recipe extract from The Blue Ducks in the Country, published by Plum RRP $39.99.