Little comes close to the divine pairing of ripe mango flesh blended with freshly squeezed orange juice, it smells gorgeous, looks vibrant, and tastes sensational; it’s a tropical high on par with cocktails served in pineapples. Oh baby, we’re on the beach with this one – grilled, fat king prawns covered in lime and lemon zest and lots of cracked black pepper. Add to that some super cooling cucumber, a tangy green apple and a big firm stick of celery and you have…a smoothie!? yes! Which is extremely tempting to drink immediately! Refrain from doing this it’s so worth saving yourself for the finished product. Serve it at a BBQ in shot glasses as appetizers if you want while the prawns are on the grill.
…it’s a tropical high on par with cocktails served in pineapples. Oh baby, we’re on the beach with this one – grilled, fat king prawns covered in lime and lemon zest and lots of cracked black pepper.
Gazpacho originates from the South of Spain and is a savoury cold soup made of raw vegetables. It is unique in that there are people out there who will have never heard of it and will be confused by such a concept. A COLD. SOUP? Excuse me? Yes, incomprehensible for some, as us English folk associate soup with the autumn and winter months; a lovely, warming, and extremely versatile dish that can comfort when cold, medicate when sick (chicken soup), and be delightful as an appetizer. However in the hotter plazas of Spain, it serves a different purpose – the opposite almost. Cucumber and celery have cooling and hydrating properties which when served chilled under the relentless beating sun is something worth raising a glass of Sangria to celebrate!
Traditionally, gazpacho is made from tomatoes, cucumber, olive oil, and peppers, and garnished with a little of each diced on top and some red onion and more olive oil. When I was teaching English in Spain I used to buy budget cartons of it from the supermarket and guzzle it to get some vegetables in as the school’s food was so carb heavy, so beige, and mostly Paella. I say Paella, it wasn’t. It was 90% rice and and 8% overcooked peas. It was near impossible to find a morsel of meat. The most excitement came from a dried prawn or a clam that was ‘closed today – sorry’. So I would trek up to the nearest shop, a 30 minute walk, to find an avocado or something a little more nourishing than the flaccid iceberg that the school served as their ‘salad’ much to the amusement of my colleagues who couldn’t understand the problem. Done well it is exceptional – I tried some in a restaurant recently dressed with basil oil which was so fresh. Think of this one as a spicy exotic smoothie with juicy prawns to transport you momentarily out of the reality of the British summer and onto a sun-drenched balcony overlooking the sea.
The ingredients used can be flexible in the way that all soups and smoothies are. There are plenty of hydrating summer fruit and veg out there out there so feel free to experiment, do I hear you say papayas, watermelon, and peaches? The chilli I used here did make it very spicy so watch which ones you are putting as, unlike with yoghurt and other chilli antidotes, these ingredients seem to conduct heat so that it spreads around your mouth like a tornado. If you’re cool with that (canned laughter) then go for it. I seasoned the prawns but left the gazpacho as it is, sweet, cool, and simple. It is embarrassingly easy to make so get washing, blending, grilling, and eating – now.
- Half a cucumber
- 2 mangos (peeled and de-stoned)
- 1 chilli (seeds removed)
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 green apple
- ¾ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (approx. 2 oranges)
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (approx. half a lime)
- 12-15 King prawns (3-4 per skewer, depending on taste)
- Black pepper
- 1 Lime juice & zest
- 1 Lemon juice & zest
- Bamboo skewers - soaked in water
- Squeeze (using an old-school squeezer for old time's sake) 2 or so large oranges into a mug. Do the same with half a lime. Pour into a blender and add the mango, cucumber, celery, apple and chilli. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
- Marinate your prawns in the black pepper lime and lemon mix and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. 10 minutes before, thread onto skewers and grill over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes.