Our BC spot prawns are ocean wise, trap caught at Howe Sound, BC. Spot prawns are the largest of the 7 commercial species of shrimp found in Canada's west coast waters. The prawns body colour is usually reddish brown or orange with white horizontal bars on the carapace (shell) and distinctive white spots on the first and fifth abdominal segments.
Spot prawns are commercially harvested in traps deployed on long-lines commonly from 50 metres to 150 metres (180 feet to 295 feet) onto the ocean’s rocky bottom. Prawn traps vary in size, and can be either oblong or cylindrical in shape and feature about 2 or 3 funnel-shaped openings each. These baited traps are laid out along a bottom line with the position of the traps marked with surface buoys. In Alaska and British Columbia prawns are harvested with traps rather than the highly destructive practice of bottom trawls used for most other shrimp species.
When buying spot prawns ensure that they feel firm, have few or no black spots and smell of the sea with no hint of ammonia. Buy live and you will be guaranteed that you have the best.
Live prawns are available during the harvest season which usually starts in May and lasts approximately 80 days. Frozen prawns (frozen in sea water) are available year round.
Preparing your prawns
Prawns can be prepared whole or as peeled and deveined. To quickly peel and devein prawns take a pair of sharp kitchen scissors and cut down the middle of the back shell right to the tail tip. Then break open the shell and pull it off leaving the tail attached. Finally pull or wash out the vein.
While prawns can be grilled, baked, sautéed, boiled or steamed, they only require 1 to 2 minutes cooking time and are done when they just turn pink. Overcooking will toughen the prawns.
Sushi restaurants tend to serve the tail raw while in western cuisine, prawns are commonly sautéed in their whole or split form, or skewered and grilled. (bcprawns.com)