Grill Thrill

Matthew Baldridge’s spicy prawns really shell out the flavor
Photograph by Joe Vaughn

Chef Matthew Baldridge is yet another of the talents who emerged from the Schoolcraft College culinary program. His professional experience includes the Rattlesnake Club and La Dolce Vita. He recently became executive chef at the beautifully restored Cliff Bell’s on Park Avenue in downtown Detroit.

> Spicy Prawns With Grilled Plums, Bok Choy, and Citrus Vinaigrette

2 serrano chilies
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
8 very large prawns
8 pieces fresh bok choy
2 jalapeños
Juice of two fresh limes
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons star thistle honey (or any clover honey)
1 pinch ground, toasted coriander
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
4 fresh plums
Granulated sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Chili Oil // Cut serrano chilies in half, lengthwise. Remove all seeds from the interior and chop roughly. Combine chilies and olive oil and let sit 45 minutes over very low heat. Remove chili pieces, reserving the chili-infused oil.

Prawns // Split the prawns from the top of the head to the tip of the tail. Gently rub small amount of the chili oil onto both sides of the prawns. Season with salt and pepper.

Bok Choy // Clip the tip of the bulb end of the bok choy with a sharp knife. Holding the green leafy end, blanch bok choy in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes. Shock in salted ice water until cooled completely.

Chili Vinaigrette // Using a blender, combine the jalapeños, citrus juice, and vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the reserved chili oil and honey. Add toasted coriander, salt, and pepper. Stir in fresh cilantro.

Grilled Plums // Halve the fruit, removing pits. Lightly sprinkle fleshy side with granulated sugar. Gently and quickly place sugared side down on the hottest spot on your grill, rotating one-half turn after about 20 seconds. Remove from grill and let stand.


Place prawns flesh side down on the grill for about 4 minutes. Flip prawns so they finish cooking on their shells. Rub bok choy with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place bok choy on grill with leafy part over coolest part of the surface. Rotate often. Remove bok choy and prawns to a plate with the grilled plums and drizzle generously with chili vinaigrette.

Optional // To further dress it up, a nice citron tobiko would work very well.

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