A Guide to Prepping Prawns
What to Do With A Spot Prawn
Serves: 4 | Difficulty:
Quick answer: Eat them! Sooner rather than later. These delicious gems from southeast Alaska are a sustainably sourced, more flavorful alternative to shrimp. They vary in size and have the texture of perfectly cooked lobster claws mixed with Dungeness crabs. While the flavor and texture are perfect, prawns can require a bit more prep than defrosting a piece of sockeye, so let's walk through what has to be done...
This might sound simple enough, but it's easier to shell the spots when they’re not quite completely thawed. Their meat is really delicate and can shred a bit if it's stuck to the inside of the shell. Defrosting spots in the fridge for a few hours leaves the inside cold enough to easily shell. Try this in a colander over a bowl to catch any drips.
This goes with the thawing, since they handle easier if slightly frozen; a rinse in cold water will fully defrost the meat just under the shell, and you’ll get rid of any juice that accumulated.
Remove roe (if there is any)
Use your thumb to break up the sac a bit, then rinse the bellies over a fine mesh strainer to catch the roe. You can save the roe and add it like salt and pepper at the end of a dish as a garnish, or combine it with butter in equal parts. Using roe butter at the end of the Gambas de Marzo is a great idea.
Get rid of their legs
You can pull these off easily with your index finger and thumb. This will allow you better access to peel the shell.
Separate the shell from the meat
With your thumb, start to push one side of the shell off the meat. Be careful, sometimes the tails can be prickly. This should break the underside of the shell and allow you to get your thumb between the meat and shell.
Gently work your way around the outside of the meat, separating as you roll the tail around.
Pinch the base of the tail to push the remaining meat out, and free the tail meat from the shell.
Don’t throw out the shells
They can infuse flavor to sauces! Give them a rinse after shelling your spots. You can use the shells to make a stock, or freeze them for the next time you make risotto or anything broth-y.
Blot them dry. They’ll continue to cook after removing them from the pan or grill so be sure to cook quickly!
Eat them up!