Moreton Bay bugs w figs & pancetta kebabs

November 16, 2009

Try something different on the BBQ this summer with this yummy seafood recipe from celebrity chef, Ben O’Donoghue.

As we welcome the summer months, renowned chef, BBQ expert and Penfolds culinary ambassador, Ben O’Donoghue, is set to help Australians look great at their next summer get together.

“Seafood on the grill can make a nice change from conventional red meats,” Ben said. “I always encourage people to try something different on the barbeque – to test their techniques, to really make an impression when entertaining.”

“This combination of fruit, seafood and meat is quite common in the Mediterranean. Just make sure you have lovely ripe figs and fresh bugs. Ideally, the skewers should be cooked over a charcoal fire but a regular grill will do.”

“My wine of choice to accompany Moreton Bay bugs with figs and pancetta is Penfolds Koonunga Hill Chardonnay, a fresh wine that gives a sense of reliability,” Ben said. “It’s immediately satisfying – you know when you buy a bottle it’s going to have the balance and generosity you’d expect of Penfolds. Koonunga Hill wines have a reputation for over-delivering on quality and even have remarkable cellaring potential, which is pretty special for a wine that costs around $15 per bottle,” he said.

Ben is a culinary ambassador for Penfolds. This recipe, and more, can be found in “Ben’s Barbecue” by Ben O’Donoghue (Hardie Grant Books $29.95).

8 Moreton Bay bugs
200 g Thinly sliced dried pancetta
8 Bay leaves
4 Ripe figs, halved
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 Lemon, juice of


1. Prepare your barbecue for direct grilling over a high heat.

2. Prepare the bugs by removing the meat from the shells. To do this, remove the head, use a pair of scissors to cut along each side under the tail, the pull out the flesh.

3. Take 4 metal skewers and thread the following on to each skewer:
– a bugs tail;
– some thinly sliced pancetta;
– a bay leaf;
– half a fig and
– repeat the sequence to complete the skewer

4. Brush the skewers with a little oil and place over high heat to cook until the bugs are translucent, the thin pancetta is crisp and the figs are oozy and caramelised.

5. To serve, dress with a squeeze of lemon juice.


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