BC Spot Prawns are OceanWise and come from one of the best managed fisheries in the world. They also have a sweet, delicate clean flavour and firm texture. Food doesn’t get better than this!
Prawns are sold live in May and June, and de-headed and frozen the rest of the year.
The Wild BC Spot Prawns website has excellent information on buying and preparing fresh and frozen spot prawns that I have summarized below:
If you buy fresh, immediately get them into a cooler or on ice. This will help prevent the prawn meat from deteriorating. If possible, cook them immediately by steaming them in water, or in white wine for a even more delectable flavour.
If you can’t cook them right away, de-head them as soon as possible because spot prawns have an enzyme in their brain that can permeate through their tail and turn the meat mushy. De-heading isn’t as dreadful as it may sound – grab the head and swiftly turn it and pull away from the head.
After the heads are removed the tails should be thoroughly rinsed. Pack them into a bowl and cover with ice and refrigerate. Prawns will last this way for up to three days.
Two absolute DO NOT rules:
DO NOT put live prawns in tap water – the chlorine will immediately kill the prawns, speeding up the decline of the meat.
DO NOT leave the prawns live for more than a few hours. The quality will deteriorate exponentially the longer they are left.
Freezing Live Wild BC Spot Prawns
Remove the head and pack prawn tails loosely into a plastic container or ziploc bag. Completely cover tails with saline solution (1 tsp salt to 1.5 cup water) remembering that water expands as it freezes.
Frozen Wild BC Spot Prawns that have been properly handled and processed are just as succulent and delicious as live prawns. They are a great option when live prawns are not available. Frozen Wild BC Spot Prawns are typically sold tail only, with the shell still on. They are packed into tubs and covered with salt water. Frozen prawns remain in good condition for up to six months in a residential freezer and up to 12 months in a commercial freezer.
To prepare, thaw in refrigerator overnight, or thaw in a cool water bath an hour or two before use.
Wild BC Spot Prawns are often cooked shell on, as the shells are easily peeled off once cooked. Begin by tearing the legs away from the meat in a circular motion. To remove the fanned tail, gently squeeze the meat out of the bottom of the shell.
Wild BC Spot Prawns can be prepared in any number of ways. The trick is to make sure they do not get overcooked. To ensure your prawns are just the right doneness, cook only one to two minutes or until the prawns just turn pink. This is applicable for whole or tails, live, fresh or frozen.