Summer Bites: Risotto with Prawns, Avocado Puree & Herb Salad

It's officially summer, and our pallets are craving a little spice and a lot of flavor. Purslane's executive chef Arden Lewis put together a fun summer meal that's sure to impress that special someone. Listen in to his curated playlist while you prep and eat.

Photo: Alexis Convento.

Photo: Alexis Convento.

Photo: Alexis Convento

Photo: Alexis Convento


1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup shallots, minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white wine
1 qt hot vegetable stock or water

Avocado Puree:
1 large avocado, peeled and diced
2 lemons, juiced
1 whole clove garlic
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

6 large prawns with head and tail on, peeled and cleaned
2 tbsp berbere spice mix (substitute equal parts smoked paprika and cayenne)
salt & pepper to taste

Herb Salad:
10 basil leaves, torn
leaves of 3 tarragon sprigs
10 mint leaves, torn
1 bunch scallions, sliced thinly (store in ice water)
1 tsp extra virgin oilve oil
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt


Avocado Puree:
- Add avocado, minced shallots, garlic and lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth. 
- Lower to a medium speed and gradually pour in extra virgin olive oil while blending.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Puree is prepared properly when a little loose and creamy.
- Store in an airtight container.

- In a shallow 2 qt sauce pan, lightly sauté shallots in extra virgin olive oil, until they start to become translucent.
- Add arborio rice to pan and toast, while stirring for 2 minutes on medium heat.
- Add white wine and stir until 2/3 of the wine has evaporated.
- Add hot vegetable stock or water until arborio rice is covered.
- Bring heat down to a low simmer and stir periodically, adding more water once most of the water is dissolved.
- It should take 15-20 minutes to cook. Risotto is done when tender on the outside with a little bite in the center.

- Season prawns generously with salt, pepper and berbere
- During the last 7 minutes of cooking the risotto, coat a very hot frying pan or stovetop griddle with vegetable oil.
- Sear each side of the prawns for about 2-3 minutes each.
- Set aside on a paper towel to drain.

Serving Risotto:
- Once risotto is cooked, turn off the heat and fold in the avocado puree
- Add a little hot veg stock or water to loosen if too stiff
- Serve risotto on a dinner plate or shallow soup plate
- Stack 3 prawns in the center of each plate 
- Mix the ingredients for the herb salad together in a small mixing bowl
- Dress the herb salad with a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and lemon juice
- Place herb salad on top of prawns

Voila! Mission: Sexy Sunday Lunch accomplished!