Written for Daily Hive by Jenice Yu, owner of Fresh Ideas Start Here (FISH), a purveyor of local and sustainable BC seafood.
BC Spot Prawn season begins this weekend. A local delicacy, BC Spot Prawns are always met with excitement in the Lower Mainland.
The short window of availability, 30 days or so depending on the harvest, usually creates a fun frenzy of people seeking them out around town, buying them to take home to enjoy, or ordering creative dishes from local restaurants.
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Unlike some other prawns from around the world, BC Spot Prawns have a firm texture and are naturally sweet. They are known also for their reddish-brown colouring with distinctive white spots.
Here are some tips on how to buy, prepare, and eat this local delicacy we know and love as the BC Spot Prawn.
How to buy
If you are new to BC Spot Prawns, it’s always a great idea to start with buying live prawns.
Look for a translucent appearance. The prawns should also smell like the ocean in a good way. They should have an overall firm texture, and not be soft or melty between the head and the body.
A large bucket or pail will ensure the live prawns stay safe and sound while travelling from store to home. Do not submerge prawns in tap water! Use an ice pack/bag of ice instead.
How to prep
Live spot prawns are best enjoyed on the same day. If you have plans to eat the prawns raw and sashimi-style, take extra care in choosing your prawns — eating them as quickly as possible so they stay fresh.
If you must enjoy your prawns later, separate the head from the tail on the same day, and store in a closed lid container in the coldest part of your refrigerator. This is because when spot prawns are left whole overnight, the heads will darken and tail meat can become mushy.
To peel prawns before cooking, use a pair of scissors to cut along the backside. However, it is much easier to peel prawns after they’ve been cooked. The shells are less brittle.
How to eat
There are a number of ways to enjoy BC Spot Prawns. I like to opt for simple ingredients to let the prawns’ natural sweetness shine.
Five of my favourites ways to prepare BC Spot Prawns include:
- Sashimi style: I normally serve them with light soya sauce or ponzu sauce
- You can deep-fry the heads after with a Japanese-style tempura batter, a popular way to enjoy the whole prawn. In addition, the shells are great for making stocks and bisque.
- Ceviche: Easy to prepare, and great for a hot summer day
- Make a lime, orange, and lemon juice blend and submerge diced prawns until desired texture
- Steamed: Serve with ginger and dark vinegar
- Sauteed: Serve with butter and lemon juice
- Poached: With coconut milk and lemongrass
At FISH, live BC Spot Prawns are available in-store starting Saturday, May 15, 2021. Be sure to get them while you can!