May marks the start of spot prawn season and we've got three delicious ways to serve up this local delicacy

We asked the chefs from Joe Fortes, Homer St. Cafe + Bar and Minami how they like to prepare this sweet local treat.

1. Olive Oil Poached Spot Prawns with Gazpacho, Joe FortesOlive Oil Poached Spot Prawns with Gazpacho

Gazpacho Ingredients

  • ½ lb ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • ¼ red pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp finely diced red onion
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • Cayenne to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the tomatoes, red pepper, cucumber, red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, sugar and cayenne in a food processor or blender and pulse until vegetables are smooth.
  2. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Stir in the chopped red onion and cilantro.
  3. Let chill for 2 to 3 hours.

Prawn Ingredients

  • 1 lb spot prawns, peeled and cleaned
  • 3 cups olive oil
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 to 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 strips lemon peel
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the prawns on paper towel and pat dry, sprinkle with salt.
  2. Place the olive oil, fresh thyme, basil leaves and lemon peel in a pot big enough for the prawns.
  3. On medium-low heat, bring the oil to 180° F using a deep-fryer thermometer. Be sure the temperature does not go over 200° F.
  4. Add the prawns stir and turn off heat.
  5. Let prawns poach 3 to 5 minutes or until cooked medium rare to medium.
  6. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and drain slightly on absorbent towels.
  7. Spoon gazpacho into chilled bowls, place the poached prawns in the center of the gazpacho and serve immediately.

Serves 6 (appetizer portions)

 

2. Salt-baked Spot Prawns with Charred Tomatillos Sauce, Homer St. Cafe and Bar

homer street prawns

 Tomatillo Sauce Ingredients

  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ lbs tomatillos, husked and cut in half
  • 2 serrano chilies, stemmed, halved and seeds removed
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut the tomatillos in half and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Set under hot broiler and char.
  2. Carefully flip and continue to char the other side. Once nicely charred, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend to a smooth puree; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Set in airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Salt Baked Spot Prawns Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh spot prawns, head on
  • 1 lb coarse sea salt
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed
  • 1 tbsp fennel seed
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorn
  • 2 red Thai chilies
  • 4 fresh bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to high, 450° F
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine coarse salt, herbs and spices.
  3. Pack a thin layer of the salt mix over the bottom of a fry pan or bake pan.
  4. Set the prawns across the salt, and pour the rest of the salt mix over the prawns and pack to ensure a nice crust will form. Add extra salt if there are any bare spots.
  5. Using your fingers, flick water liberally over the salt, as this will help the salt crust form on top.
  6. Place in the oven and set the timer for 8 to 10 minutes.

To serve

  1. Once cooked, carefully remove from the oven and set on a hot mat to serve.
  2. Serve with tomatillos sauce and fresh lemon. Bon appetit!

Serves 2 to 4

 

3. Minami Spot Prawns Two Ways

minamiPrawns Ingredients

  • 3 whole B.C. spot prawns 
  • ½ cup of flour
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 1 cup Japanese vinegar
  • 1 watermelon radish, sliced
  • 1 handful of micro greens
  • 1 sliced avocado

Instructions

  1. Pickle the watermelon radishes at least a night in advance using a cup of Japanese vinegar.
  2. Make sure it is covered well and placed in the refrigerator. 

Strawberry Compote Ingredients

  • 1 chopped strawberry
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • ⅓ cup chopped cucumber
  • 2 tsp sushi vinegar

Instructions

  1. Combine the chopped strawberry, shallot, and cucumber in a bowl with two teaspoons of sushi vinegar. Mix well.

Finish Prawns

  1. Separate the spot prawn heads from the body, but leave the tail with the tail meat. Save the heads for deep-frying.
  2. In a small pot, heat the canola oil to about 380°.
  3. Coat the three prawn heads in flour. Then, deep-fry the spot prawn heads for about five minutes until crispy. 

To serve

  1. Place the sliced avocado on a plate, arrange in three groups.
  2. Then, place the spot prawn tail meat on top, followed by a small spoonful of strawberry compote.
  3. Slice your watermelon radishes.
  4. In the middle, place a handful of micro greens, followed by the watermelon radishes.
  5. Place the deep-fried prawn heads vertically on the plate.