Brisbane born, Chris Ark started his career in the kitchen on Hayman Island in 1996 and since then has worked in Italy, Spain, Singapore, and New York. The past five years have seen Chris based in London under the tutelage of Gordon Ramsay, where he has held roles as Head Chef at renowned gastropubs The Devonshire and The Warrington before his recent appointment to Claridge’s. An expert in the kitchen but also supremely knowledgeable in the perfect paddock-to-pan transition, Chris has relied on 15 years of experience to make him into one of the most exciting Aussie chefs in London.
“Travel has been a huge influence on my food and living in London has exposed me to new and exciting cultures,” recalls the suave, young Aussie chef. Chris will have weekly tips, recipes, ideas and features about everything and anything culinary and you can follow him in our free weekly newspaper, here online or on Twitter at @chrisarkonfood .
BBQ prawns with Chermoula and Moroccan flat bread
This week’s recipe is one to get in before summer well and truly fades away. It is ideal for large parties, a great addition as a starter for two and is an easy option, perfect for those first impressions that you want to last.
My big tip is to buy fresh prawns from your local fishmonger or local supermarket. Look for the plump eyes, with all legs and antenna intact. Check for a distinct, fresh ocean aroma.
What you need:
6 fresh large green prawns
1 large bunch of fresh coriander washed and finely chopped
½ teaspoon chilli powder
¼ teaspoon of soaked saffron threads
Juice of half a lemon
4 cloves of garlic pressed or finely chopped
2 teaspoons of paprika
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of freshly ground ginger
5 teaspoons of vegetable oil
2 Moroccan flat breads — available from all good Moroccan delis
What do to:
Carefully remove the outer shell of the prawn leaving the head and tail attached. With a sharp knife slice down back of the prawn and remove the intestine. You can buy ready to eat prawns but they are never as tasty!
Place the coriander and the dry ingredients plus vegetable oil into a mortar and pestle (if you have one) otherwise into a large jug and use a hand blender. Blitz the ingredients together until they form a paste and are well combined. Add the lemon juice, then taste. There should be a nice balance of spiciness and aromatic flavours of cumin and coriander.
Use a bowl to mix the prawns with the chermoula and allow to marinate.
On a hot grill or heavy based fry pan add a splash of oil. Carefully place the prawns on the grill and cook for 2 mins on each side.
Using good quality flat bread from Moroccan or Algerian specialty shops, place the flat bread on a grill and warm through.
Serve the prawns with a wedge of lemon and a simple salad of green olives, cucumber and dice tomatoes.
Don’t miss next week’s article.