I’ve heard of people in the States cooking steaks on ashes and coals, so I tried it out with some large, raw prawns. I threw the dry, whole prawns directly onto the barbecue ashes and covered them with coals. Four minutes later, I picked them out with tongs, then blew and wiped off most of the ash. While they were cooking, I mixed fresh basil, a chopped red chilli and jarred peppers in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
I chucked the hot, dirty prawns straight into the bowl and, frankly, they turned out to be the highlight of the day.
The experience of eating them was gnarly — the juices ran over our hands and the ash acted as an extra seasoning. With a cold beer, they were the best things ever.
TO BARBECUE AND PICK A CRAB
Put a 1kg (2lb 4oz) crab on a hot barbecue for 10 minutes each side. A lot of the shell holds the flavour, so it’s a great receptacle. Adjust the time depending on the weight, but don’t worry too much. Worst-case scenario is that you start picking it and it’s underdone and has to go back on the barbecue for a minute or two. To get the meat, rip the legs and claws off with pliers, break them open and pick out the flesh, taking care not to get bits of shell in there. Bash the body open, then pick out the meat, discarding the grey gills (aka dead man’s fingers) and the shell.