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 Fortes
- 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
- 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.
- Adjust seasoning if necessary. Stir in the chopped red onion and cilantro.
- Let chill for 2 to 3 hours.
- 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
- Place the prawns on paper towel and pat dry, sprinkle with salt.
- Place the olive oil, fresh thyme, basil leaves and lemon peel in a pot big enough for the prawns.
- 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.
- Add the prawns stir and turn off heat.
- Let prawns poach 3 to 5 minutes or until cooked medium rare to medium.
- Remove from oil with slotted spoon and drain slightly on absorbent towels.
- 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
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
- Cut the tomatillos in half and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Set under hot broiler and char.
- Carefully flip and continue to char the other side. Once nicely charred, remove from heat and set aside.
- Place all ingredients in food processor and blend to a smooth puree; season with salt and pepper.
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
- Preheat oven to high, 450° F
- In a mixing bowl, combine coarse salt, herbs and spices.
- Pack a thin layer of the salt mix over the bottom of a fry pan or bake pan.
- 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.
- Using your fingers, flick water liberally over the salt, as this will help the salt crust form on top.
- Place in the oven and set the timer for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Once cooked, carefully remove from the oven and set on a hot mat to serve.
- Serve with tomatillos sauce and fresh lemon. Bon appetit!
Serves 2 to 4
3. Minami Spot Prawns Two Ways
- 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
- Pickle the watermelon radishes at least a night in advance using a cup of Japanese vinegar.
- 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
- Combine the chopped strawberry, shallot, and cucumber in a bowl with two teaspoons of sushi vinegar. Mix well.
- Separate the spot prawn heads from the body, but leave the tail with the tail meat. Save the heads for deep-frying.
- In a small pot, heat the canola oil to about 380°.
- Coat the three prawn heads in flour. Then, deep-fry the spot prawn heads for about five minutes until crispy.
- Place the sliced avocado on a plate, arrange in three groups.
- Then, place the spot prawn tail meat on top, followed by a small spoonful of strawberry compote.
- Slice your watermelon radishes.
- In the middle, place a handful of micro greens, followed by the watermelon radishes.
- Place the deep-fried prawn heads vertically on the plate.