Wild BC spot prawns are in season and they are simply sweet and delicious. For a casual gathering, sauté prawn tails in their shells with a little butter and top with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and eat them right out of the shells for the best flavour experience. Culinary Capers’ recipe this month is a lovely way to serve a spot prawn as an hors d’oeuvre. Serve in a white China spoon or great silverware for a more elegant presentation.
Spot Prawn with Crème Fraîche and Pea Purée
Makes 32 hors d’oeuvre or 3 to 4 servings for an appetizer-sized course
16 spot prawns, head removed and peeled
1 cup fresh garden peas (frozen can be substituted)
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped
32 chervil, tarragon or Italian parsley leaves
½ cup crème fraîche
4 mint leaves
fine sea salt to taste
Place a medium pot with 2 inches of water over high heat. Insert a steamer in the pot.
Steam peas covered for 2 to 3 minutes and shock in cold water. Drain and set aside.
Steam prawns covered for 1 to 2 minutes and check for doneness (when they just turn pink). Chill immediately in a bowl of ice cold water. Drain.
Cut prawns into 2 pieces. Toss with olive oil, a pinch of fine sea salt and chives.
Purée peas in blender until smooth, scraping down the sides (adjust with a bit of water if necessary). You want a purée the consistency of mayonnaise or soft peanut butter. Season lightly with salt, then pass through a fine mesh sieve or small tamis.
Chop or slice mint very fine and immediately mix with crème fraîche. Keep everything cold.
Just before serving: spoon, or use a piping bag, to put a ¾ tsp of pea purée on a spoon.
Top with a ½ spot prawn. Top with ½ tsp of crème fraîche and garnish with an herb leaf.
For an appetizer course:
Spoon a “swoosh” of pea purée across the lower centre of a plate. Evenly divide spot prawns and pile atop the purée. Spoon some crème fraîche on top of the prawns.
Toss 1 ½ cups of shaved fennel with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of fresh lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt. Place a small pile on the top part of the plate.
Look for lively, almost translucent prawns, they should shimmer! If the head is showing a black colour the meat has already started to deteriorate. Keep them buried in ice. Prawns purchased “live” should be cooked immediately or have their heads removed as soon as possible. After the heads are removed the tails should be thoroughly rinsed. Cook only one to two minutes or until the prawns just turn pink.
Check out BC Wild Spot Prawns for more information.