• Whole king prawns with Cafe de Paris butter, fennel and herb salad (Chris Abbott)Source: Chris Abbott

Café de Paris butter was created by Freddy Dumont in 1941. He served it with sirloin steak in the Restaurant Café de Paris in Geneva. The exact recipe is probably still secret to this day and is still on the menu. Combined with the sweetness of the prawns and the aniseed of the fennel, this dish packs a delightfully simple punch of flavour.






Skill level

Average: 4.5 (10 votes)


  • 8 large king prawns, shells on, split lengthways, legs removed with scissors
  • ½ lemon, cut into small wedges, to serve

Café de Paris butter

  • 250 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped tarragon
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped sage
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped basil
  • 1 French shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 20 g curry powder
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste


  • 1 tbsp chardonnay vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, outer leaves and core discarded, finely sliced, fronds reserved
  • 2 tbsp chervil leaves
  • 2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp basil leaves

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Wine pairing: Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay, Multi-Region

1. For the Café de Paris butter, place the butter in a large saucepan and stir until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.

2. Preheat the oven to 220˚C. Place the prawns, cut-side up in a single layer in an oven-proof dish. Place 1 tablespoon of Café de Paris on top of each prawn and bake for 3 minutes or until the butter has melted and the prawns are just cooked.

3. Meanwhile, for the salad, whisk the oil and vinegar together. Place the fennel, fennel fronds and herbs in a large bowl, drizzle with dressing and gently toss. Serve the prawns with the salad and lemon wedges.

• This recipe makes more Café de Paris butter than you will need for this recipe. To store the remainder, spread the butter along the long side of a large piece of plastic wrap or baking paper, then roll up to form a tight log and seal the ends. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.


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