Key West Onion-Crusted Prawn with Cuban Lentil Salad and Orange Habanero Vinaigrette

PUBLISHED December 08, 2021

Richard A. Thompson
Executive Chef
Dusit Thani Maldives

At Dusit Thani Maldives, Executive Chef Richard A. Thompson delights your senses through unforgettable epicurean experiences. He boasts more than 25 years in the food industry, with a career that has spanned the globe from the US to Asia and the Indian Ocean. Chef Richard brings his culinary creativity to unique menus throughout the hotel, providing an exquisite gastronomic journey in the heart of the Maldives.
I was inspired to create this dish while in Washington DC working on a concept menu for a boutique hotel. I was thinking of the experiences that had really excited me during my travels and work in the Caribbean. Cuban cuisine has bold, unmistakable flavors and combining a traditional Cuban lentil salad with their love for fried food led me to this creation. It features a large Key West prawn wrapped with sweet yellow onion from south Florida and I finish it with a modified version of a mojo.


Serves 2 appetizer portions


Onion Prawn

·       4 lg. prawns U15

·       2 lg. yellow or white onion

·       Flour all purpose

·       Corn meal (rough polenta)

·       Seasoning


Peel prawns and clean, roll these in seasoned flour and then into a milk egg bath, drain slightly and then place again into the flour, gently wrap the thinly sliced onions around the prawn, apply a little pressure to keep the onion secured to the prawn and chill. When ready to serve, place the prawns in a deep fryer 150°C till golden brown and fully cooked, place on a paper towel to remove excess oil.


Cuban Lentil Salad

·       ½ Le Puy green lentils

·       ½ ripe pineapple, peeled and cut into triangles

·       1 red bell pepper

·       1 green bell pepper

·       1 lg. sweet red onion

·       Finely chopped ginger 

·       Orange segments

·       Cuban spices (cumin, garlic granules, chili powder)

·       Coriander leaves - whole (not chopped)

·       Lime juice

·       Sea salt

·       Grape seed oil

Preparation / Method

Cook the lentils till al dente, dice all the vegetables same size as the lentil, mix these together with spices, coriander, lime juice and salt, add enough grapeseed oil to mix into the salad and reserved for plating. 

Pineapples to be cut into triangles and then quickly caramelized in very hot pan, while still warm mix into the pre made salad and chill. Garnish with the orange segments.


Habanero Vinaigrette

·       1-2 Habanero pepper (depending on how spicy you require)

·       1 cup orange juice

·       In a sauce pan reduce these ingredients and reduce till Orange juice is thickened, cool it

·       and add in a blender.

·       1 tbsp Dijon mustard

·       100 ml lime juice

·       50ml honey

·       2 tsp Egg yolk (pasteurized)

·       3 lg. garlic clove

·       Salt, white pepper

·       2 cups+ grape seed oil

·       ¼ bunch cilantro


At full speed add in the oil slowly and seasoning, till it binds. Last, pulse in the coriander leaves so that they remain visible. If this is too thick, thin slightly with a little water.

Chill and keep for service.


To serve, place some of the vinaigrette on the plate, place a small portion of the lentil salad on top and then place the prawn, decorated with cilantro leaves.


Bon Appétit!