Wise About Spot Prawns

The spot prawn season runs just under two months, and it’s such a treat to find them fresh and live right off the boat.

If you’re unfamiliar with spot prawns and have lived most of your life on the west coast, you’re not alone. The majority of this exquisite delicacy, the largest of the seven commercial species of shrimp in our waters, was exported until a consortium of fishers spearheaded by Steve Johansen had a good idea. He joined forces with chef Robert Clarkand the Chef’s Table Society and held a festival celebrating the seasonal crustacean. The rest is history.
While some are still exported – and why not – the majority can be enjoyed in most restaurants with an Ocean Wise mindset, or at home, purchased right off the boat or from a reliable purveyor.
A few tips: once the prawns are no longer alive, it’s imperative that their heads be removed. The head contain an enzyme that begins to permeate through the tail and turns the meat mushy. The head also turns black. So if you see a collection of prawns at your local grocery store, swathed in plastic with black heads still attached, keep walking.
With that in mind, we took a dozen still kicking prawns and sauteed shallots, jalapeno and chopped tomato before adding the prawns with white wine and lemon zest, cooking them until they just turned pink. Yes kids, there’s goodness in those heads too!
The rest of the prawns became headless, and were packed in salted water in tubs before being frozen for later use. (This technique of packing in salted water can be applied to any fish or seafood, from salmon filets to octopus, it prevents them from drying out).
Another batch of prawns was held back for risotto with Saanich asparagus – another seasonal item – made with a light chicken stock and shallots. No cheese here please, just the sweet lovely flavours of B.C.
For more information on B.C. seafood and sustainability issues, check out The Ocean Wise Cookbook, edited by writer Jane Mundy, and packed with recipes, tips and facts.
Here are chefs Robert Clark and Bill Jones spreading spot prawn love during the festival.


4 Responses to “Wise About Spot Prawns”

  1. One Woman... says:

    Goodness! You are much braver than I was in making my spot prawns!: http://gastronomicalsovereignty.blogspot.com/2011/05/incredibly-fresh-fish-seafood-tacos.html

    I’ll try your recipe next :)

  2. Thanks One Woman. Your blog looks great! Thanks for following!

  3. sewa mobil says:

    Nice article, thanks for the information.

  4. Heather Ferguson says:

    I don’t like spot prawns as I find them too mushy. Now I know why. Thanks!

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