It’s time to throw a shrimp on the barbie!

Every Saturday, Chef Mark McEwan, one of Canada’s most famous chefs, serves everything you need for a special weekend meal, including a recipe and expert cooking tips to take home.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s very easy and a crowd-pleaser: it’s rather old-fashioned, but it never gets old. I made this dish for our family last week when our new grandson was at the cabin. We went through 60 shrimp in a very short time; it was so easy and delicious. But anyone can do it!

Shrimp are so simple: just buy 13-15 raw shrimp, follow the recipe, and don’t cook too long. They literally take a minute or two per page. Fresh shrimp are rare in the markets, so the best solution is to buy a good quality frozen shrimp (look for 20 pieces per pound or less). The page here is a great use for our asparagus season, which is very short. It’s always good to use local! This particular recipe is bulletproof – and you’ll never have leftovers.

Tips from the chef:

1. My favorite drink combination for this dish is simple: Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. However, almost any bright white will work. A cold lager would work too. Think of simple pairings.

2. If you want to try a different type of seafood with this dish, scallops are a good substitute: they are a little more delicate to prepare, but the process is the same. Just try not to overcook it: scallops taste very good with a little undercooked. This recipe is very adaptable: spring onions work well instead of asparagus. Broccoli is another great substitute; I cut them oblong and add the peeled stem of the broccoli. It’s best to get a good char on the broccoli.

3. Are you a newbie to shrimp? Butterflies a shrimp simply means opening the natural seam on the back slightly so that it flares up a little while grilling. Don’t overdo it: less is more in this case. detoxification is very simple: all you do is remove the dark vein along the back of the shrimp. Most frozen shrimp are already deveined for retail sale. Just check each shrimp to make sure it is clean.

Grilled king prawns with charred lemon butter, pickled chillies, Parmigiano-Reggiano and grilled asparagus

Grilled king prawns

3 Lemons, halved crosswise

12th King prawns (approx. 2 lb / 1 kg)

2 tbsp (30 ml) warm clarified butter

1/2 cup (125 ml) Butter, diced, at room temperature

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped red chillies in oil

1 Clove of garlic, chopped

Leaves of 1 bunch Parsley, chopped

1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

salt and pepper

Grilled asparagus

1 a bunch of asparagus

1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

salt and pepper

1 ounce (30 g) grated Parmigiano Reggiano

fine olive oil

broken black pepper

To prepare the prawns, preheat the grill on the highest setting. Grill the lemons meat side down until they are lightly charred. Squeeze out 2 of them and set aside the third. Butterfly (or have your fishmonger butterfly) the shrimp without separating one half of the shell from the other. Core them, spread them flat and brush them lightly with a little clarified butter. Charcoal with the buttered side down, brush with clarified butter and turn. Just before the prawns are done, transfer them to a large bowl. Add the diced butter and toss. When the butter melts add the reserved lemon juice, chillies, garlic, parsley and parmesan cheese; keep stirring until the sauce thickens and the prawns are well covered. Season, toss again and serve on a warm plate with the 2 reserved grilled lemon halves.

To prepare the asparagus, preheat the grill to the highest level. Break off the underside of the asparagus spears (they naturally break where they go from woody to tender). Do not blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for more than 45 seconds, then shock it in ice water. Drain and pat dry. Stir in olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and toss again. Grill the asparagus until lightly charred, about 1 minute per side. Arrange unidirectionally on a warm serving platter. Then cover with parmesan, drizzle generously with the fine olive oil and finish with a pinch of broken black pepper.

This recipe serves 2.

Chef Mark McEwan is a Toronto-based chef, entrepreneur, mentor and author of bestselling cookbooks. He is a freelance worker for the star. Follow him on Twitter: @chef_MarkMcEwan

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