Opening day for BC’s wild spot prawn season and the sunshine brought the crowds to Steveston this past weekend, as covered by this Richmond News article and the many, many images showing everyone’s prized prawn purchases popping up on Instagram.
So what’s the big fuss about these local crustaceans? For one – they are delicious! Many are lucky to buy them straight off the boats, caught in local waters just a few hours earlier. And more importantly, they are a sustainable fishery; with limited licensing and restricted catch methods (see our 2020 blog for more info), and as a controlled fishery, they are only caught a few weeks out of the year, which make them an even more precious catch.
Fun fact: The popularity of the spot prawn keeps this ten-year old blog from 2011 “Everything you need to know about cooking spot prawns” consistently in our top-visited web page year after year. While the popularity of spot prawns has increased exponentially over the past decade, how to cook them remains the same, so we’ll copy the recipe at the bottom of this blog for your reference.
In 2021, there are two spot prawn fishers selling at Steveston’s Fisherman’s Wharf. The best way to avoid lineups is to pre-order from them on their websites: Steveston Sport Prawns and Prawns on the Spot. Follow them on Instagram (@steveston.spot.prawns @prawnsonthespot) to find out when they expect to arrive at the dock, and when they sell out of the day’s catch! For those who may be unable to visit Steveston, there are also some pick up locations at False Creek, or you can order through Skipper Otto, a Community Supported Fishery.
HOW TO COOK SPOT PRAWNS
DO NOT OVER COOK. It is better to undercook than overcook. The prawns continue to cook in the shells.
TO THAW: Put them in a colander In the sink and run COLD water over the prawns. They will thaw really quickly and you can cook them right away.
TO BOIL: You can put them in boiling salted water, in the shells. Only boil for 2 minutes, then run cold water over to stop the cooking process.
BBQ: Place thawed prawns in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and crushed garlic. Skewer and BBQ. They are really good if you peel them and marinate with olive oil and garlic (you only have to marinate a few minutes or they can marinate for one to two hours) BBQ for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. REMEMBER, DO NOT OVER COOK!
STIR FRY: Saute prawns in melted butter and crushed garlic and a pinch of sea salt, with or without the shells.
IN THE OVEN: SIZZLING PRAWNS Recipe:
- 1 ½ lbs. Prawns, peeled
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ tsp. Hot pepper flakes, optional
- ¼tsp. Salt
- 2/3 cups extra-virgin olive
- l tbsp. Finely chopped fresh parsley
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 F. Spread prawns in a single layer in baking dish. Sprinkle prawns evenly with garlic, pepper flakes, salt and oil. Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 12minutes, stir once. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Serve with french bread for mopping up the flavourful oil.
NOTE: It is really hard to peel fresh prawns, it is really easy to peel them once they have been frozen or cooked.