Spot Prawns season is here. The season starts in May and usually lasts 80 days. Almost 90% of the harvest is exported to Japan and the remainder is sold fresh or frozen in BC. Caught off the shores of the Pacific Northwest, these wild, succulent, sweet flavoured prawns are unbelievably delicious! These prawns are usually reddish brown or tan in colour and they have white horizontal bars on the shell, with distinctive white spots on the abdominal section. An interesting note: Spot prawns are hermaphroditic; essentially each individual matures as a male, passing through a transition stage becoming a female. With a lifespan of 4 years, the spot prawn spends two years as a male, transitioning to a female in the final years.
When purchasing spot prawns, ensure there are no black spots,they are firm and that they smell of the sea–not ammonia. You can store them in an airtight container for up to two days in the fridge. I purchased the fresh spot prawns, with the head off, in North Vancouver at the Crab Shop on Dollarton Highway. This shop has an amazing array of fresh, wild seafood at good market value.
We decided to barbecue the prawns, keeping the preparation simple and easy. Peter believes keeping the shell on while cooking retains flavour. In preparing the prawns, I cut the top of the shell to the tail (with scissors), removed the black vein and tossed in a marinade. The cooking time is fast on a hot barbecue, constantly keep an eye on the prawns–if you over-cook them it toughens them. I used a non-stick griddle for the barbecue to protect the prawns from falling through the grill. We used a gas barbecue, if you are using briquettes time it accordingly.
My wine choices are Mt Boucherie Estate Collection Riesling 2009 or the Cedar Creek silver medal winner Pinot Noir 2008. I also love Wild Goose’s Autumn Gold–great for sipping while prepping and cooking and if you have some left enjoy it with the prawns!
1.5 lbs (680 gms) Spot Prawns-headless, cut top shell, devein
1/4 C (60 ml) Olive Oil
2 t (10 ml) fresh dill-finely cut
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Finger bowl-(optional) warm water and a piece of lemon
- In medium bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice dill and salt & pepper together.
- After preparing prawns, described above, toss prawns in marinade and set onto glass tray, pour any remaining marinade on prawns.
- Fire up barbecue to high, ensure the grill and griddle is hot.
- Place all the prawns onto the hot griddle turning the prawns often, cook them until they turn pink–2-3 minutes.
- Serve in shell.
Mt Boucherie Estate Collection Riesling 2009-German varietal with fresh aromas and flavours of Mandarin oranges, clover honey, ripe apples, and a hint of mineral.
Cedar Creek silver medal winner Pinot Noir 2008-taste cherry, plum and cloves with velvety tannins.
Wild Goose Autumn Gold 2009 -a blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. Off-dry palate with flavours of apple, pear and citrus.