Come the Raw Prawn

Prawns
CHOOSE
If you’re trying to shop sustainable, northern or coldwater prawns are usually your best bet (check the fish app at FishOnline). Look for shiny shells and firm flesh; disintegrating eyes and mushy legs are bad signs.

NOTES
Φ Many indigenous or tribal peoples prize seafood for its nutritional qualities, sometimes undertaking long treks to obtain it at trading points. And they are right to do so — prawns (among other seafoods) are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, and all their wide range of nutritional benefits.

Φ Pepe the King Prawn of The Muppets seeks a powerful, passionate crustacean to share life’s highs and lows

DISHES
Prawns stand up surprisingly well to strong preparations such as curry. To make a prawn dish look beautiful, shave long ribbons off a cucumber with a potato peeler, and drape or curl them up across the dish(es). Don’t ever discard prawn shells, heads and so on— simmer them to make a divine stock for fish soups or risotto. Or strain out the bits, add some reduced white wine (Pinot Grigio works well, possibly due to its relative lack of acidity), gently stir in a little single cream, and you have a beautiful sauce.

Scampi
Cook your prawns, devein and peel, then dip them first in beaten egg and then in a mixture of white breadcrumbs, herbs (tarragon, coriander leaf and parsley are all good), and deep-fry. For a tropical twist, add desiccated coconut to the breadcrumb mixture

Prawn toasts
Find a recipe to suit you online (and get a toothpick for all those sticky sesame seeds). Australians seem to know what they’re doing with Asian recipes; try this YouTube offering: Prawn Toast (click here). Serve with sweet chilli sauce as a dip

Sauté prawns
In butter with whiskey or brandy. Stir in a little cream

With scrambled egg
Prawns are as good as smoked salmon in scrambled egg or omelette

In a pint pot
With mayonnaise. Try to have another pint pot nearby, containing a pint of local craft beer. The Taster can confirm this is a valid method of reconnecting with our shared culinary traditions from the past

Risotto
Prawn and chorizo risotto is good for a dinner party or celebration. You can enhance this by throwing in cheaper seafood ingredients such as cockles. Cook five or seven big black mussels, also, and stick them upright in the risotto, to draw gasps of admiration – shiny black mussels contrast beautifully with the yellowish risotto (and if it’s not yellow enough, add saffron or a tiny touch of turmeric)

Prawn cocktail
Make a rose-marie sauce by mixing mayonnaise & ketchup (beware; start with a tiny drop of ketchup – it colours up a lot). Slice an iceberg lettuce, add lemon wedges, sprinkle with paprika and break out the Mateus Rosé! Also, see our Prawn Cocktail blog for more suggestions

Spicy prawns
Fry prawns with a splash of sesame oil & Asian flavours — lime, ginger, garlic, coriander, coconut, lemongrass etc; or add stronger curry spices such as garam masala for an Indian curry dish.

Prawn tempura batter recipe
Tempura batter. Click to jump to Bhaji Man’s recipes

Prawns in tempura batter
Try this batter mix by Bhaji Man – they sent us a home tempura kit which was really, incredibly easy to use. After a lot of protesting, The Taster himself made the tempura prawns — and if he can do it, anyone can (his forte is eating, not cooking)

WHEN PRAWNS GO WRONG
If you should serve up prawns to guests or friends which transpire to be, perhaps, not the very freshest, here is how not to handle the situation:

Find more on our “Funny” playlist on our YouTube channel.

ETYMOLOGY: THE RAW PRAWN
Φ The phrase come the raw prawn, meaning to put on a pretence of idiocy, dates back to the Second World War, when it was apparently invented by Australian troops. In the land down under, Prawn had been used to indicate an idiot since the 19th Century. Raw might be connected to the fact that in Oz, raw prawns are sometimes called green prawns: green can mean naive (eg “green in judgement” or greenhorn in American slang). A raw prawn/idiot might therefore mean someone who is green and naive even compared with more run-of-the-mill prawns/idiots. Alternatively, the phrase as a whole may indicate something difficult to swallow: the Urban Dictionary  suggests “the reason lies in cooked prawn being more palatable than raw prawn. However, anyone from a fishing background who has handled raw prawn flesh, will know that it is limp, wet and slippery; like the sort of people at whom this phrase is directed.” A more recent variation is Don’t come the uncooked crustacean.cheftest

The Taster hopes this page has given you a few ideas and useful links for prawns. For more ingredients, click HERE.

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