Dining In 3 minutes 02 July 2019

Recipe: Grilled Santa Barbara Spot Prawns

Fire up the charcoal for this recipe from chef Michael Cimarusti of Providence.

recipe Seafood

"The team here at Providence is thrilled that the MICHELIN Guide has come back to L.A. after a 10 year hiatus,” says Michael Cimarusti, chef and owner of Providence in Los Angeles, which was bestowed with two MICHELIN stars in the inaugural California selection. During a grand live revelation that took place in Huntington Beach, Cimarusti was on hand serving up decadent spot prawns from Santa Barbara.

“We have always been driven to create a restaurant that was worthy of MICHELIN stars,” he continues. “We are proud to have been recognized and proud to be a part of the larger community of starred restaurants, here in L.A., in California, in the USA and around the world."

Grilled Santa Barbara Spot Prawns

Courtesy of Chef/Owner Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles

Yield: 20 Portions


100 grams sea salt
100 grams Champagne vinegar
40 live spot prawns, heads removed and reserved
1 recipe spot prawn jus (below)
1 recipe prawn tare (below)
1 recipe furikake (below)
Lime zest


Bring 4 liters water to a rolling boil; add sea salt and Champagne vinegar.

2. Remove the legs from the prawns and place them in a dehydrator. Skewer the prawns to keep them straight during the cooking process.

3. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Drop the prawns into the boiling water in batches of 10 so the water stays at a soft boil. Immerse the prawns for 15 seconds and then remove them to the bowl of ice water. Repeat the process until all of the prawns are cooked. (If the prawns have eggs, remove them and place them in the dehydrator with the prawn legs.)

4. Peel the prawns, line them up on a linen lined baking sheet, and keep the tails on the skewers to make grilling easier. Keep the prawns refrigerated until you are ready to finish them on the grill.

5. Light a charcoal fire. (We prefer to use Thaan Charcoal that was created by Andy Ricker of Pok Pok restaurants in Portland, Oregon. The charcoal is sustainably produced in Thailand from rambutan wood. The charcoal burns evenly and imparts a nice flavor to the prawns.) Put the prawns on the grill once it is hot. Turn the prawns often and brush them with the tare each time. The tare will aid in caramelization and reinforce the flavor of the prawns. When the prawns have been grilled for a few minutes and are well glazed with the tare, they are ready to come off the grill. Season the prawns with the furikake and lime zest. If you are serving the prawns as an hors d’oeuvres then one per person is sufficient. To present the prawns, fill the bottom third of a shot glass with the Prawn broth from the iSi canister, place the grilled and seasoned prawn in the glass tail up and serve immediately.

Cimarusti (right) grilling spot prawns at the live revelation in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Aaron Hutcherson.)
Cimarusti (right) grilling spot prawns at the live revelation in Huntington Beach. (Photo by Aaron Hutcherson.)

Prawn Tare


1/2 liter sake
1/2 liter mirin
1/2 liter barrel-aged soy
1/2 portion of reserved prawn heads
2 cloves whole garlic
20 grams ginger, crushed
30 grams scallion


Place sake, mirin and soy into a non-reactive saucepan; place pan over flame and add prawn heads, garlic, ginger and scallion; reduce to simmer until tare begins to take on a syrupy consistency. Strain and reserve in refrigerator for up to several weeks.

Spot Prawn Jus


20 prawn heads, stomach removed and cut in half
30 grams blended oil
30 grams butter
4 grams cracked black pepper
150 grams onion
100 grams shallot
100 grams carrot
100 grams leek
100 grams white mushrooms
50 grams celery
10 grams garlic
300 milliliters Brandy
50 grams tomato paste
200 grams fresh ripe tomato
300 milliliters white wine
2 liters water
1 bouquet garni
30 grams albumin powder
3 grams xanthan gum


Cut the prawn heads into small pieces. Heat a large saucepot over high heat. Add the oil and bring to the smoke point. Add shells, making sure not to stir for several minutes. Add butter and black pepper, and allow the butter to melt. When you begin to see color on the shells, add the onion, shallot, carrot, leek, mushrooms, celery, and garlic, and cook for several minutes. When the mirepoix has softened and cooked through add the Brandy and ignite it. Allow the shells to caramelize and add the tomato paste to the pot, stir well to distribute the tomato paste and allow it to gently color. Add the fresh tomato and cook the tomatoes down for several minutes before adding the white wine. Add the white wine and reduce it until the raw flavor of alcohol has cooked away. Add the water and bouquet garni and bring the broth to a simmer and cook for an additional 45 minutes.

2. Remove the broth from the fire and discard the bouquet garni; purée the broth using an immersion blender. Taste the broth to be sure it is properly seasoned; season with salt as needed. Strain the broth through a China cap and then trough a chinois, straining through the chinois several times. While the broth is still hot weigh out 500-gram portions of the broth, place the broth into a blender. Add albumin powder and xanthan gum, and turn the blender on low speed and allow the xanthan and the albumin powder to hydrate, for approximately 3 minutes. Strain the broth again and taste for seasoning. Place the broth into an iSi canister. Place the lid on the canister and charge it once. Place the canister into an immersion bath heated to 160˚F.



1 part prawn legs
1 part prawn eggs
1 part AO nori
1 part smoked sesame
1 part piment d’espellette
1 part dried porcini powder
sea salt, to taste


Allow the prawn legs and eggs to dehydrate for several days until they are completely dry and brittle. Place equal parts by weight prawn legs, eggs and porcini into a coffee grinder and grind until coarsely chopped and of equal size. Strain through a coarse tamis to remove any large pieces. Add remaining ingredients and season to taste.

Hero photo by Kathryn Sheldon.

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