This dish was inspired by Andrea at “Cooking With A Wallflower”‘s Creamy Pesto Shrimp Skewers.
I figured that prawns would be a perfect match for my “haven’t-made-it-in-a-while” Thai-style pesto. This is, as you can no doubt guess, a Thai inspired twist on a traditional pesto, made with cashews and Thai basil, with both chilli heat and a slug of lime juice added for good measure.
Here I used pre-cooked prawns for two important reasons – i) our local hypermarket had, rather predictably, run out of raw crustaceans, and ii) I was simply too hungry to wait for the prawns to cook. When you have the hunger demon gnawing on your left leg, every minute matters.
The prawns sat soaking up the flavours of the pesto while I grilled the aubergines, which made this a sub-half hour job in total, perfect for a quick lunch or speedy supper.
Prawns in Thai Pesto with Grilled Aubergines
- 2 medium aubergines
- 350g cooked prawns
- 250g cashews
- a good handful of Thai Basil
- a good handful of coriander (cilantro)
- a good handful of chives, roughly chopped
- 3 small, hot chillies, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- juice of 1 lime
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- sesame seed oil
- Fish sauce
- lime wedges
- Make the pesto. Place the cashews in a food processor, and pulse blend until they are coarsely chopped. Add the chillies, garlic, Thai Basil, coriander (cilantro), chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to blend until the nuts, herbs, and vegetables are finely chopped. Add the lime juice and continue to blend.
- Add about 4 tbsp of olive oil, and pulse blend to incorporate. Continue adding olive oil, 1 tbsp at a time, and blending, until you achieve the consistency you’re after. This will of course depend on both personal preference and the precise amount of nuts you’re using. For this batch, it came out to about 8 tbsp of oil.
- Once the pesto is ready, place the cooked prawns and pesto in a small bowl. Mix well, and set aside while you grill the aubergines.
- Top and tail the aubergines. Cut off a thin slice on the left and right sides, to remove the peel. Slice them down their length into slices about as thick as the tip of your little finger.
- Pre-heat a grill pan to medium warm heat. Brush both the grill pan and the aubergine slices with olive oil. Grill the aubergines for a total of 8 minutes, broken down into 4 × 2 minutes. In the second round of 4 minutes the aubergine slices should be rotated through 90°, in order to achieve that familiar cross-hatch pattern. The aubergine slices should now not only look cool, they should also be golden, and tender, too.
- Plate up. Place the aubergine slices on your serving plate, and spoon over a generous portion of prawns in pesto. Dress with a drizzle of fish sauce and sesame seed oil. Garnish with lime wedges, and a few more sprigs of fresh coriander. Serve.