Melbourne's #1 Food Market


If you were lucky enough to catch Jesse McTavish and his seafood school session last month (let’s just say his Chef Challenge went well and truly over-time), you would’ve been feeling pretty pleased with yourself this festive season… I know I was.

You see, Jesse McTavish showed us how to poach prawns in the most elementary of ways, and it worked so well that I’ve since gone on to use it for Christmas lunch, boxing day dinner, New Year’s Eve AND yesterday’s lunch.

I’ve been cracking out the crustaceans so often that it’s come to a point where I’m looking for excuses to get them into a dish.

This is one of those excuse dishes – but it’s a really good one! It’s basically a tricked-up potato salad, so you’re welcome to sub in whatever your favourite additions are – I’m thinking pickles, crispy bacon, maybe even crunchy croutons if you’re that way inclined. But the key is using good quality young potatoes that hold their shape when boiled and peeled.

The Market’s resident potato man, Michael Mow, pointed me in the direction of the cutest Tiny Toms that worked a treat, but any chat boiling potato will do.


PRAWN-TATO SALAD -by Jesse McTavish

Serves: 4
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (for cooking prawns):
10 whole raw large prawns
2 crush garlic cloves
1 brown shallot
bay leaf
black peppercorns
dill stems
2 litres water
generous pinch of salt


  1. Place “aromats” (this basically means ingredients that have a strong aroma, so you can use any of your favourite herbs and spices – anything that’ll give the prawns more flavour) in water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, Pull off the prawn heads by pinching either side of the head and twisting. Make an incision in the 2nd last joint of the prawn’s tail and use a toothpick to help pull out the vein (poop-tube). If any bits of the tube get stuck, pull them out through the front.
  3. Arrange prawns on the bottom of a large lidded container, pour over your boiling water and cover with a lid for approximately 6-8 minutes or until prawns are opaque.
  4. Finish off prawn prep by pinching off the legs, then peeling back the rest of the shell, including the tail.
  5. BUT WAIT! You can always buy pre-cooked prawns if you’re strapped for time, but you’ll still need to peel off the tail shell – and keep an eye on the country of origin, choosing Australian when you can.
  6. Slice prawns in half lengthwise so that they keep their prawny shape.

Ingredients (for the salad):

Prepped prawns
8-10 young potatoes boiled until soft, peeled gently and sliced into mouthful sized shapes (if the potatoes are particularly little, keep them whole)
2 lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced
5-6 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 Spanish or spring onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
2 tbsp capers (I fried mine off in some olive oil until golden brown, but this is optional)
lemon zest
olive oil
Kewpie mayonnaise (just a squirt, to zhuzh up the dressing)
salt & pepper

Combine ingredients in a salad bowl, dress liberally with olive oil and mix together with clean hands.
Serve immediately, with a bit of extra dill on top for garnish.

recommended articles