3 June 2010

Can You Spot the Sautéed Spot Prawn?

Sautéed British Columbia Spot Prawns with Garlic,
 Jalapenos, and Spicy Mayo

Here in the interior we herald in Spring with tender local asparagus, freshly shelled peas, and crimson stalks of rhubarb but on the coastal waters of British Columbia nothing says Spring more than fresh live Spot Prawns. From May 1 until July 1, we have the opportunity to devour some of the freshest and best-tasting prawns in the world here in British Columbia.  Huge, luscious BC spot prawns are one of the most tantalizing things to be found in the waters around Vancouver. Sweet, firm, peachy-pink and tender, the prawns are sustainably harvested by local fishermen, which means we get to enjoy eating them and feel OK about it too.

Meet Spotty the Spot Prawn

 Early dawn in and around Vancouver Island the traps that have been out all night get collected. By 2 in the afternoon, the fishermen arrive at Granville Island, sell their catch right off the boat, and deliver the rest to market. We have a local fishmonger who ventures out on the coastal waters and delivers her seasonal catch alive back to her shop for sale in my interior hometown. The only way to get them fresher is to live right on the coast and lay traps yourself. Spot Prawns are like gold!!!!

 I am very much in support of sustainable fishing. Spot prawn fishermen along the B.C. coast use baited traps on long lines attached to buoys. The number of other species that inadvertently end up in these prawn traps is relatively low. This type of fishing involves a relatively low amount of habitat damage. The great thing about spot prawns is that they are so well regulated that the stocks are constantly repopulating, and prawn lovers can feast without feeling the least bit guilty. L'il Burnt Toast moved to the coast over the weekend so I'm sure that she will find herself drawn to the False Creek dock at Granville Island.

Hanging Out at the Hummingbird Feeder

I tried my Spot Prawns several ways. The first I am sharing with you today keeps it simple based on a recipe from Canadian chef Robert Feenie of Lumiere fame. He says, "I have learned over the years that, when it comes to cooking seafood, simple is always best; the last thing you want to do is overcomplicate a seafood dish. You don't want to overpower the prawns' indescribable sweetness - which is the best thing about them."

 Spot Prawns are natural fast food. If you choose to boil them they cook in two minutes in a pot of boiling water. Enjoy their succulent meat alone or with a dipping sauce of your choice. Mr. Feenie's recipe called for sauteing the prawns  briefly in a pan, adding a touch of heat with the peppers and lots of garlic and then adding a splash of good British Columbia wine.  After a glass of wine I got over my fear of eating things with their heads on...wink...wink.  A little twist, peel back the shell and I was taken away to the sun-baked shore. The meat is intensely sweet and tender, without even a hint of fishiness when eaten so fresh. I tried them with  new "smashed" potatoes, and a fresh mesclun garden salad.  A loaf of crusty bread to sop up all the juices, plenty of napkins and the ability to lick your fingers and what more could you ask for? Maybe perhaps to have the season last for more than eight weeks! Keep it simple and buy a ton of fresh prawns while they're here.

**Sautéed British Columbia Spot Prawns with Garlic, Jalapenos and Spicy Mayo**
based on a recipe by Rob Feenie

3-4 pounds live prawns
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I crushed them)
2 red jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced ( I used 2 dried and added them to the saute pan with the garlic)
¼ cup flat leaf parsley
1 cup dry white wine
1 whole lemon
Freshly cracked black pepper
Spicy mayonnaise (recipe below)

In a 12-14 inch sauté pan, on medium heat add olive oil, butter and garlic, lightly sauté. (If using dried jalapenos add them now)

Turn heat up, add prawns and jalapenos. Toss for 1-2 minutes. Turn heat back to medium, add white wine, and cook for another minute.

Add parsley, juice of 1 lemon and finish with freshly cracked black pepper. (If you used dried jalapenos remove them now). Serve immediately in a large bowl with warm, crusty bread. Place the mayonnaise in the middle of the table with the prawns and have fun!

**Spicy Mayo **

1 cup of mayo
1 tablespoon of Sambal Oelek

Mix and season with salt and pepper.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. I like chef Robert Feenie's quote. Especially when you have something as wonderful of spot prawns. I look forward to reading all the other ways you tried these prawns.

  2. Fresh seafood is one of the great pleasures of living on the west coast. These prawns look so delicious and I love how you've prepared them. Can't wait to try that spicy mayo with some crab legs and french bread.

  3. I'll do the dishes, please can I have a bowl?

    You have gorgeous photos here Valli and you sure know how to use food props!

  4. Valli: I am in favor of sustainable seafood. Alas, here in the U.S., we now have the major oil leak. We've been stocking up on all the seafood we possibly can. When we lived in Charleston, S.C., we'd meet the fishing boats for real freshness. Now, in the midwest, frozen is the "freshest" way to go. I managed to get some lovely gulf coast shrimp at Whole Foods on Sunday. Who knows when that will happen again?


  5. Mmmmhhh, marvelous! That mayo sounds terrific!



  6. From start to finish I loved this post. I'd never heard before of this shrimp and was delighted to learn more about them. The recipe sounds perfect and I'll be trying it the next time I can get really fresh shrimp. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  7. Didn't you know that once you name it, it's considered a pet! But, hell, I'd eat my pet too if it was dressed in garlic, jalapenos and spicy mayo.

    P.S. Cute signature log.

  8. I'll be in Vancouver later this summer. I hope I'm not too late for spot prawns.

  9. There is nothing better than fresh prawns. I think I may have to move to British Colombia for eight weeks out of the year!

  10. Did you watch American Idle this last season.. Ellen kept saying when it came to Crystal, that she could never find enough words to complement her talent..

    This is you Val!! My mouth waters every time I come here. Beautiful post, those spot prawns and the accouterments on it are so delicious looking!

  11. Val...I see that you adopted a new pet. Beautiful photo with the green leaf background.
    How crazy was I to have missed coming to B.C. during prawn fishing fiestas...Oh no...I come in November when it pours rain most of the time...and not too many prawns to be seen!
    Love your recipe...sounds so appetizing. The sauce is so versatile.
    We usually sauté prawns in lots of onions and garlic with a great splash of white Porto or Sherry...pull them out of the pot...cook some sweet plum tomatoes...dive the prawns back in and pour this lovely seafood sauce over some linguine ;o)
    OK...gotta go...I'm getting too hungry.
    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

  12. AnonymousJune 03, 2010

    I would love to try spot prawns! They sound incredible with jalapenos and spicy mayo!

  13. Love prawns and this Vall is awesome!, xx gloria

  14. boy-o, those're some funky-looking critters! i love the inclusion of jalapenos--great recipe!

  15. The prawn is gorgeous, both cooked & uncooked! ;) This meal is right up my alley, Val, but I'm going to have to Google Sambal Oelek - I have no idea what that is!

  16. Sambal oelek is an Indonesian or perhaps Malaysian sauce found in the Asian section of your supermarket. Sambal Oelek is made of chilies with no other additives such as garlic or spices for a more simpler taste. Use this sauce to add heat to a dish without altering the other delicate flavors.

  17. Those look unbelievably good! And the photos are great! I especially like the spicy mayo served with the prawns.

  18. Your corner of the world is stocked with some of the best food and most beautiful scenery in the world. I love your pictures of Spot. Who knew prawns liked hummingbird feeders? ;-)

  19. Ooooh now the garlic, jalapenos and spicy mayo must be amazing with the prawns! Fantastic photos too!

  20. I am just jumping back in to thank you for the lovely birthday wishes.
    Hugs and blessings...Mary

  21. AnonymousJune 04, 2010

    It's so great to see someone who isn't afraid to have a little fun with her food!

  22. Beautiful post... and I concur. I believe there was just an episode with Chef Lynn... (I forget her name... Crawford?) who went out in the boat with the guys, and fished for these (I think hers were smaller) and then cooked them up for the fellows. I have lived here all of my life and didn't hear about them until that episode on TV... and now through you. This is a brilliant Canadian Heritage food moment. I would love to be able to get some in the interior... but, I think that is why I travel. Lucky you!

  23. Parsley and lemon make for such good flavorings for shellfish. I love that these prawns are local (for you!). Seems like a great dish.

  24. "Spot prawns" is is new name to me, but nevertheless, it looks amazing!!!

  25. I also love seafood and am always looking for a new recipe. THank you fos sharing. THis one looks delicious.

  26. What a tasty way to enjoy some prawns! I have been wanting to try the spot prawns.

  27. i love seafood - but its a pity it isnt cheap enough to have it more often

  28. I think I may have to fly to Bc to taste these goodies but in the meantime I will make do with Gulf coast shrimp; love that sauce, jalapeño and garlic is it as far as I am concerned!

  29. Wouldn't I love to try one of these crustaceans. I love prawns! Lucky you!

  30. What a delicious and fresh meal, Val! Local to boot!

  31. These prawns look great. What a treat.

  32. These spot prawns were sweet, firm when I had them but you've got me beat with your sambal/mayo sauce.

  33. This is the second time I've seen these prawns on a blog, and I soooo want to try them! They look and sound delicious! This garlic saute recipe sounds so good!

  34. Mmm sounds delicious!

  35. The prawns look excellent & i so love the spiced up mayonaise too!

    MMMMMMMMMMM,..lovely food!


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