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Sesame Prawn Skewers With Rocket and Roast Garlic Aioli

By colm
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prawn skewers

Skewered sweet Dublin bay prawns rolled in toasted sesame seed and grilled till golden, served with a sweet and peppery garlic aioli.

When was the last time some Dublin bay prawns ended up in your shopping basket down the fish mongers? If you’re anything like me the chances are they’re an occasional treat. A delicacy only enjoyed every now and again.

The main reason for me is the price. The 20 or so dublin bay prawns in the picture above cost a whopping 17 euro and I’m not ashamed to say I wolfed them down all on my lonesome and was still left feeling a little peckish.

The other issue is availability, which is also the reason they’re so damn expensive. No doubt the best and freshest are snapped up by the high end restaurants around town. Which leaves your average joe like you and me with the frozen variety.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Dublin bay prawns deteriorate rapidly once caught. These days they’re flash frozen at sea or shortly after being being landed. Most of the time I turn up my nose at frozen fish.

However, the quality of the Dublin bay prawns in the freezer cabinet at your fishmongers compares really well with any of the fresh ones I’ve seen around lately. Fresh prawns really need to be at the market and eaten within 24 hours of been caught, no hanging around, and at least with the frozen ones you know what you’re getting. Quality is somewhat guaranteed.

sesame prawn skewers-4

Because of their price Prawns are an ideal option for a canape. You could get away with serving just a couple per person before a meal, and with the party season approaching this is an ideal recipe. I’ll admit that the inspiration for this recipe comes from the sesame prawn toasts you often see as an appetizer on menus in Chinese restaurants.

Simply devane and skewer up the prawns before rolling them through some nutty toasted sesame seeds. Than just cook them ever so briefly under a really hot grill so the retain all that succulent sweet juice.

sesame prawn skewers-5

You could have these tasty little treats whipped up and served to your guests in about 10 minutes as long as you buy the prawns already peeled. So it’s the way to go if you’re in a hurry.

Personally, I nearly always buy my prawns in the shell, heads and all. You can make an awesome tasting stocks with the shells for use in soups, sauces, stews and risotto.

sesame prawn skewers-3

As with any food on a stick you need something to dip into. With prawns my thoughts nearly always turn to garlic. Prawns and garlic are one of those heavenly marriages that just work so well together.

So to complement my prawns I whizzed up a roast garlic aioli. To roast the garlic just wrap it up in a little foil parcel with some fragrant  thyme and fruity olive oil. Than bake it in the oven till tender.

garlic aioli

I love cooking garlic like this. It takes on a totally different flavour. Gone is the sharp slightly acidic edge to be replaced by a more mellower nutty flavour. The sweet golden nuggets of roasted garlic are then whirled up with some peppery rocket and spicy dijon for an ideal accompaniment.

When was the last time you treated yourself to some sweet succulent prawns ?

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prawn skewers

Sesame Prawn Skewers With Rocket and Roast Garlic Aioli

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 20 prawn skewers 1x



For the roast garlic and rocket aioli

  • 1 whole bulb of garlic.
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • 1 sprig of thyme.
  • 2 egg yolks.
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard.
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
  • 25g / 1oz of washed rocket leaves
  • 250ml / 1 cup of rapeseed oil.
  • salt.

for the prawns

  • 25g / 1oz of toasted sesame seeds.
  • 20 peeled Dublin bay prawns.
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil.


  1. First make the garlic aioli. Place the bulb of garlic on a sheet of tinfoil and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Put a sprig of thyme on top and wrap the garlic up into a little foil parcel.
  2. Bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes until the garlic is soft and tender.
  3. When the garlic is cool enough to handle pull apart the cloves and remove the skins. Place your peeled garlic in a food processor along with the egg yolks, dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, and washed rocket.
  4. Give everything a good whizz and then slowly trickle in the olive oil till the aioli it a thick mayonnaise consistency.
  5. Next put the sesame seeds on a baking tray and toast under a hot grill till golden brown.
  6. Skewer up your prawns on bamboo skewers and then roll them through the toasted sesame seeds trying to get as even a coating as possible on each prawn.
  7. Lay the skewered prawns on a baking sheet and season with a little salt. Than drizzle with the olive oil and cook for 2 minutes each side under a hot grill.
  8. Serve the prawns on a platter with the garlic aioli on the side for dipping and let everybody dig in.


You’ll need some metal or bamboo skewers for this. If you’re using bamboo ones like me it’s a good idea to give them a soak in some water for about an hour before you use them. It stops them catching fire under the grill.

Alternative fish – any type of prawn or shrimp

2 thoughts on “Sesame Prawn Skewers With Rocket and Roast Garlic Aioli”

  1. i am gonna run with that roasted garlic and arugula aioli, chef. the idea of it is making my mind tick with all sorts of different applications.


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