Wild spot prawns are apparently amongst the most sustainable forms of seafood we can eat, due to the stewardship regulations that govern their capture. They are only available "in season", and this year that means you have a little less than two weeks left to enjoy them. We hadn't tried them before, so we decided to give it a whirl a couple of weeks ago. Off we headed to our favourite fishmonger, New Seaway, in Kensington Market, where we were introduced to our supper!
Some quick research on how to prepare and enjoy them led us to this nice little clip from Vancouver Magazine. (Where else to turn for expertise on the matter other than the folks who live where they're caught, right?)
As you can see, brain sucking seems to be de rigueur! You know what? We tried it and they're absolutely right! (Brain....must...eat...brain...)
We opted for a simple spring dinner. Above, the prawns ready to go. Below, more of our mis en place: local spring asparagus, parsley from the balcony herb patch, Canadian grape tomatoes and garlic...
...and a lovely array of greens picked from our balcony garden. (Since it hasn't been hot, June this year has been a sensational month for lettuce growing!)
Finally, we selected a gorgeous NZ Sauvignon Blanc to tie it all together!
We made up a simple salsa crudo with the tomatoes, some finely diced shallots, the parsley, sea salt, lemon juice and olive oil. Nothing cooked, just tossed together. We used that to dress some fine linguini. A super-easy aioli of Hellman's, garlic (made into paste with a mortar & pestle), and more lemon juice garnished the quickly blanched asparagus. Onto that we coarsely grated some fresh Parmesan. The greens were drizzled with a simple vinaigrette. The prawns were quickly sauteed till they just turned pink in some olive oil and diced garlic. And dinner was served al fresco.
So we shucked, and we sucked, and it was pretty good for the most part. Actually, it was friggin' delicious! But there was one small matter that seemed not quite right- some of the prawns had mushy bodies. So it was back to Google, where we discovered that once the little guys leave this world, they release an enzyme that turns their flesh mushy. Now that's a little vindictive, doncha think?
So, the big lesson for us? Keep 'em alive till you're ready to cook. We apparently made a big mistake by leaving them in the wrapper in the fridge till the next day. Next time: buy, sustain, eat.
A new taste treat, a good lesson in food preparation, and a silky bottle of chilled white. The icing on our cake was a gorgeous evening outdoors chez nous watching the sun set and the moon rise.