Succulent prawns marinated in a punchy gin and lime marinade and balanced by the creamy gem avocados, ruby grapefruit, peppery radishes and fresh lamb’s lettuce. This Prawn Salad recipe is calling for you all summer long!
What Goes With Gin?
Gin has seen an incredible boom over the last few years. The Australian market alone has seen an increase in domestic gins grow from approximately 10 varieties to over 700 since 2013. I love a good gin and tonic; it is definitely my go-to aperitif.
The main botanical ingredient in gin is juniper berries. Not only is it the predominant flavour, juniper berries have to be the main botanical for the alcohol to be classified as gin by law.
What is a juniper berry? It’s not a true berry as the name suggests. It is actually a female seed cone that looks like a berry of the juniper plant that has a slightly piney flavour with pepperiness and a citrus overtone. Therefore juniper berries are often used as a spice for meats in particular game, sauces and stuffings.
What about cooking with gin? As each gin is flavoured with many savoury botanicals, it can be a little tricky to cook with it as the stronger profile may dominate the delicate ingredients. What goes with gin depends on the botanicals used in the gin itself.
As a general rule, find common ingredients or contrasting flavours to bring out the intensity of the gin or the ingredient you are using. Pairing gin with seafood can work magic as both have naturally savoury overtones that can take citrus flavours well.
Is There A Difference Between Prawn And Shrimp?
The terms prawn and shrimp are often used interchangeably. In Australia, we usually say prawns, but in the US, shrimp is the more common term. We generally refer to prawns as the larger kind while shrimp is reserved for the smaller fella.
However, is there a difference between prawn and shrimp more than just size? Yes, there is!
Scientifically they are different sub-species of the crustacean family. Prawns and shrimps have different anatomies and live in different environments. Another main difference between prawns and shrimp is the way they reproduce.
So next time you throw a shrimp on the BBQ, you might be throwing a prawn!
Why I Love Gin and Lime Prawn Salad with Avocado
One of my favourite drinks is definitely a good Gin and Tonic. A punch of pepperiness with zesty citrus and sweetness of the tonic water. It’s so refreshing!
So I thought, why not try to recreate similar flavours in my next salad creation?
Giving a sweet, succulent prawn salad recipe a little twist, I add a splash of gin with a good squeeze of lime juice but dialling up the flavours with chilli flakes, crushed garlic and coriander roots. Then charred on the grill and tossed together with fresh lamb’s lettuce, creamy avocado, ruby grapefruit and crunchy radishes, this prawn salad is everything you would love for a warm summer evening.
How to Make Gin and Lime Prawn Salad with Avocado
How To Cook The Prawns
Finely mince garlic cloves.
For the marinade, we are only using the coriander roots/stalks. Keep the leaves for the salad later. Wash and finely chop coriander roots.
For this prawn salad recipe, I bought prawn cutlets which still have the tail intact. However, you can purchase without.
Wash and devein prawns.
In a large mixing bowl, add prawns, gin, chilli flakes, garlic, coriander, olive oil and lime juice. Mix well together and leave to marinate for 15-20 minutes.
Heat grill pan over medium-high heat and cook prawns for 1-2 minutes on each side. Try not to overcrowd the grill pan with too many prawns as this will cause the juices to mingle and then broil the prawns versus frying them.
Prawns are cooked when flesh turns opaque, and there is nice golden char on each side.
Remove from heat and set aside for assembly.
If you prefer to make a non-alcoholic version, omit the gin but add a tablespoon of fish sauce and ½ teaspoon of sugar to balance the flavour.
Prepare the Prawn Salad
For this prawn salad, I used lamb’s lettuce because it was available at the greengrocer and also I love the interesting shapes of the leaves.
However, you can also use mixed leaf salad as lamb’s lettuce substitute. Lamb’s lettuce, also known as corn salad and mache lettuce, is a fantastic salad option throughout winter as it provides fresh leaves when others are dormant.
Wash and rinse lamb’s lettuce.
Wash and rinse radishes thoroughly. Trim the stalks and then thinly slice from top to bottom.
I selected Gem avocado for its creamy texture to offset the charred prawns and citrus flavours. Gem avocado is a relatively new variety in Australia and only available through licensed growers. For a quick and easy gem avocado salad, try our Gem Avocado and Watercress Salad.
Cut avocado in half with skin lengthwise. Once you hit the stone, rotate your knife around and cut around the pit. Then place the knife down and, using your hands, twist and pull the avocado apart.
One half will have the stone which you can remove using a teaspoon to prise it out. Gently run the teaspoon under the pit to pop it out. Peel skin gently and then place avocado cut side down and cut into long slices. Set aside for assembly.
Using a sharp paring knife, slice the top and bottom of the ruby grapefruit to expose the flesh a little.
Place the ruby grapefruit cut side down. Slicing as close to the ruby grapefruit flesh as possible, cut along the curve of the fruit to remove a section of peel, exposing the fruit underneath. Continue cutting the ruby grapefruit until all the peel is removed.
Carefully cut along the membranes and slice the ruby grapefruit segments out. Once you have all the segments out, cut them into half or thirds depending on how big the segments are. You want bite-sized fruit in the prawn salad.
Wash and roughly chop coriander leaves.
How to Assemble the Prawn Salad
On a large serving plate, start with layering the lamb’s lettuce or mixed leaf salad.
Then scatter prawns, radishes and ruby grapefruit amongst the lamb’s lettuce. I then layered the avocado in fan shapes throughout the salad to add interest.
Finish with chopped coriander leaves, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a good squeeze of lime.
I loved the colours of the prawn salad, and the flavours were just divine. The charred succulent prawns were actually more savoury than I thought with the gin marinade and all beautifully balanced by the creamy Gem avocados, tangy-sweet ruby grapefruit, peppery radishes and fresh lamb’s lettuce.
It definitely did not need additional salad dressing. Extra virgin olive oil and lime juice was all it needed to finish off.
A very simple salad to put together and can easily prepare all ingredients in advance and just assemble when you need to serve.
Start with G&T or even a jug of cold fruity Sangria; this salad is perfect for alfresco dining and summer barbeques. It will get the friends talking!
More Summer BBQ Salad Recipes:
- Parmesan Chipotle Corn Salad with Black Beans
- Vegan Coleslaw with Pear and Carrot
- Fennel and Courgette Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts
- Jerusalem Artichoke, Pear and Prosciutto Salad
- Red Quinoa Parsley Salad
Easy Salad Dressing Recipes:
Gin and Lime Prawn Salad with Avocado
- 400 g prawns
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ cup coriander, leaves
- 1 tbsp coriander, stalks
- 1½ tbsp gin
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 lime, juiced
- 80 g lamb lettuce
- 8 radish
- 1 avocado
- 1 ruby grapefruit
- Wash and devein prawns.
- Finely mince garlic cloves.
- Wash and finely chop coriander roots. Keep coriander leaves for salad later.
- In a large mixing bowl, add prawns, gin, chilli flakes, garlic, coriander, olive oil and lime juice. Mix well together and leave to marinate for 15-20 minutes.
- Heat grill pan over medium-high heat and cook prawns for 1-2 minutes on each side. Prawns are cooked when flesh turns opaque, and there is nice golden char on each side. Remove from heat and set aside for assembly.
- Wash and rinse lamb’s lettuce.
- Wash and rinse radishes thoroughly. Trim the stalks and then thinly slice from top to bottom.
- Cut avocado in half with skin lengthwise. Remove the stone and gently peel skin. Place avocado cut side down and cut into long slices. Set aside for assembly.
- Remove peel from ruby grapefruit. Carefully cut along the membranes and slice the ruby grapefruit segments out. Once you have all the segments out, cut them into bite-size pieces.
- On a large serving plate, layer lamb’s lettuce.
- Then scatter prawns, radishes and ruby grapefruit amongst the lamb’s lettuce.
- Layer the avocado in fan shapes throughout the salad.
- Finish with chopped coriander leaves.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a good squeeze of lime.
- If you prefer to make a non-alcoholic version, omit the gin in the marinade and add a tablespoon of fish sauce and ½ teaspoon of sugar to balance the flavour.
- You can substitute lamb’s lettuce with regular salad leaves.
- If you can’t find ruby grapefruit, blood orange or regular orange would work too. However, it will be sweeter so add a little more lime juice at the end to finish.