Sunday, May 9, 2010

Shrimp Scampi -- BC Spot Prawn style

Today was a very interesting cooking day.

It all started yesterday when I met my friend Margot to check out the BC Spot Prawn Festival. The festival itself was pretty lame, we paid $10 for 4 spot prawn, a hunk of bread, and a few sauces to dip it in. They were OK but I had expected more for all this fanfare. Then we saw the long lineups -- people were waiting for the boats to come in with fresh spot prawns. We joined the lineup and I bought a pound of fresh spot prawns for $12. As we walked around Granville Island afterward the prawns kept wiggling in their bag and freaking me out. I was not looking forward to cooking them up. Walking back to the car, I passed the lineup again -- much longer this time -- and I considered re-selling my prawns back to someone in line and forgetting the whole thing. I decided to keep them. They are a delicacy after all, considered the best prawns in the world by some, and by gosh I was going to cook them up!

Tonight was the night. I took the prawns out of the fridge, eyeballing the bag carefully. No one was moving today, I think they had all died overnight. With their long, spindly tentacles and legs and black eyeballs looking at me, I guessed I felt okay about that. Yesterday I had heard Pino Posterato telling his fellow chefs that these prawns were great raw, and I read they were an expensive delicacy in Japan which is an argument that gets me to eat almost anything, so I took the freshest prawn I could find in my bunch, pinched off the head, peeled the tail, took a deep breath, and ate it raw. It was overall pretty good, more mushy than a cooked prawn but much sweeter with an almost buttery mouthfeel.

Then it was time to cook up the rest of the horde. I found this recipe online and decided to cook it up pretty much as directed, except I substituted 1 lemon's worth of juice for white wine, added in a little onion, minced mushroom, and 1 minced tomato to the recipe, and I didn't use quite as much oil or butter (but a lot more than I usually do!). It was simply delicious and I loved the prawns in the dish.

I'm glad I did it once. It was a fun night and the prawns were good but I doubt I would do it again, I just felt too bad for the little buggers.

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