Food & Drink

James Martin’s Valencia beans and red prawns recipe

“Located on the east coast, the 2,000-year-old city of Valencia boasts wide sandy beaches, striking architecture, a buzzing food scene and culture,” says chef James Martin, who has dedicated his latest cookbook to Spanish cuisine.

“It has its own language (a dialect of Catalan) and unique cuisine, with a focus on rice, seafood and meat. This dish showcases red prawns on a bed of white beans and vegetables.”

Valencia beans and red prawns


(Serves 2)

75ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 onion, diced

1⁄4 leek, diced

1⁄2 carrot, peeled and diced

1⁄4 green pepper, cored, deseeded and diced

3 bay leaves

2 whole smoked chilli peppers (or a pinch of chilli flakes)

300g cooked butter beans

Splash of white wine

Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

8 red prawns, split lengthways

Sea salt

Valencia beans and red prawns
Valencia beans and red prawns Valencia beans and red prawns from James Martin’s Spanish Adventure (Dan Jones/PA)


1. If you want to use a BBQ, heat a BBQ until hot and the coals are white.

2. Heat a medium paella pan and, when hot, add the oil, then add the garlic, all the vegetables, the bay leaves and the smoked peppers. Cook for two to three minutes, then stir in the beans, 50 millilitres of water and the wine and cook for three to four minutes. Season with salt and finish with the parsley.

3. Meanwhile, pop the prawns onto the BBQ, drizzle with oil and season with salt, then cook for two to three minutes until charred, turning once or twice. Alternatively, grill on high for three to four minutes.

4. To serve, remove the smoked peppers (if using) from the beans and then pile the prawns on top of the beans and drizzle with extra olive oil if desired.

James Martin's Spanish Adventure
James Martin's Spanish Adventure (Quadrille/PA)

James Martin’s Spanish Adventure by James Martin is published by Quadrille, priced £27. Photography by Dan Jones. Available now.