10 large whole scampi
65ml water
65ml white vinegar
65g sugar
95ml fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated
400ml grapeseed oil
reserved scampi heads & shells
5 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
50g tomato paste
5 star anise
1 ripe avocado, halved and sliced lengthwise
1 stick lemongrass, white part only, finely sliced
50g Ōra King salmon caviar
1 long red chilli, finely sliced
16 small Vietnamese mint leaves
micro shiso
micro coriander
crispy shallots

Chef Mark Limacher shares one of his legendary dishes from Ortega Fish Shack in Wellington.


1.Remove the heads from the scampi, then with a sharp knife cut through the middle of the scampi tails lengthwise.
2.Remove the digestive tracts and discard. Remove the meat from the shells and keep in the refrigerator.
3.Reserve the heads and shells to make the scampi oil.
4.Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
5.Set aside.
6.Put a pot on a medium heat and allow to warm, then add 100ml of the grapeseed oil and the scampi heads and shells – do not stir for 2 minutes or they will not brown.
7.After 2 minutes stir and leave for another 2 minutes, then add the garlic, tomato paste and star anise and cook for a further 1 minute.
8.Add remaining grapeseed oil and bring to a simmer.
9.Allow to simmer for 20 minutes then remove from the heat and leave to stand for a further 20 minutes.
10.Strain through a coffee filter (a muslin cloth with a fine sieve, or a chinois will also suffice) and place in the refrigerator to chill.
11.To serve, place 4-5 slices of avocado down the centre of four bowls and top with five pieces of scampi, evenly spaced.
12.Mix the sliced lemongrass with the dressing and generously spoon over the scampi, followed by about 20ml scampi oil.
13.Arrange 3 or 4 teaspoons of salmon caviar around each bowl, followed by slices of chilli, Vietnamese mint leaves, micro shiso and micro coriander.
14.Finish with crispy fried shallots.

Illustration Kohl Tyler-Dunshea

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