Santa Barbara Spot Prawns with Olive Tapenade

March 27, 2024

Discover the delectable world of Spot Prawns, an intriguing delicacy resembling miniature lobsters, albeit technically classified as shrimp. These prized crustaceans are unique to the Pacific Ocean, distinguished by the paired spots adorning their rear. Click here for a deeper dive into their fascinating characteristics.

Embark on a culinary journey with this tantalizing recipe from the renowned Water Grill in Bellevue, Washington. Whether you choose to source these exquisite Spot Prawns from your preferred seafood purveyor for a homemade creation or opt for the expertly prepared dish straight from the Water Grill's kitchen, the options are equally enticing.

Santa Barbara Spot Prawns with Olive Tapenade 


½ cup quinoa, pre-rinsed
1 cup water

Orange and ruby grapefruit, peeled and diced
1-pound wild Santa Barbara spot prawns
Half a lemon
Store bought green olive tapenade
Olive oil  to drizzle
Chopped mint, parsley, and chives for garnish
Lemon herb oil to drizzle 
Micro-cilantro to garnish


Toast the quinoa in a saucepan set over medium heat for 10 minutes (stirring frequently) until it turns reddish brown in color. Add water and cover the pot with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the water is fully absorbed. Turn off the heat and let it steam for another couple of minutes.

Add the chopped grapefruit.

Preheat your grill. Season the spot prawns with salt, and place them on a grill over medium heat (keep the shells on as it helps keep the spot prawns moist). Grill the spot prawns for two to three minutes on each side, being careful not to burn them. They should be pink in color when they’re finished grilling. While the grill is still hot, add the lemon and grill it for another two minutes or until a nice char begins to form.

To plate, spread a generous amount of olive tapenade on a plate, and add the toasted quinoa salad with the chopped grapefruit. Drizzle olive oil over the top, and sprinkle it with chopped mint, parsley and chives.

Place the cooked spot prawns in a shingled fashion, head-to-head. Spoon lemon herb oil over the spot prawns, garnish the salad with micro-cilantro and serve with the charred lemon.