Chefs' Recipes

Barbecued prawns with brown butter and tamari

Mat Lindsay recipe for barbecued prawns with brown butter and tamari from Ester restaurant in Sydney.
Barbecued prawns with brown butter and tamari

Barbecued prawns with brown butter and tamari

William Meppem

At chef Mat Lindsay’s restaurant Ester, prawns are a near-constant on the menu. And this recipe was a longtime staple at the Chippendale restaurant. It’s a celebration of the beloved shellfish, with the addition of some signature Ester flair.




1.Make a covered barbecue (see note) as hot as you can. Carefully cut along the back and belly of each prawn shell from tail to head using small, thin-tipped scissors (try to avoid cutting into the flesh) and discard one side of shell. Split the underside of the head open with scissors and butterfly, then set aside.
2.Melt butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat until light brown (4-6 minutes; don’t overcook or it will become bitter). Briefly dip base of saucepan in a bowl of cold water to cool slightly, leave for 30 seconds, then add tamari.
3.Meanwhile, heat 2cm of grapeseed oil to 180C in a small saucepan. Add capers and deep-fry until crisp (30-40 seconds; be careful, hot oil will spit). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
4.Brush prawns with olive oil and barbecue shell-side down and with cover closed until heads are crisp and flesh is just translucent (1½-2 minutes). Serve with brown butter, fried capers, a grind of fresh black pepper and lemon wedges.

Note If you don’t have a barbecue with a lid, place an upturned metal bowl over the prawns. Chef Mat Lindsay usually cooks the prawns in a wood-fired oven, but a barbecue works well, too. Use your hands to eat these, and don’t throw away the shells and heads – they add great crunch.


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