Did you SPOT a PRAWN??!!

Here we are in the one, the only – Spot Prawn Season!

The Season officially began on May 3rd, but it peaks this weekend.  For those of you not from the wonderful west coast, you may be wondering…’what is she talking about??’ Well let me tell you! For just 6 to 8 weeks Spot Prawns (which are basically a large delicious shrimp) are found in the North Pacific. They can be found all the way up to Alaska and all the way to down to San Diego. Here in British Columbia, the BC Spot Prawn Fishery has created a great sustainable Ocean Wise option right here in our local waters.  It is a well-managed fishery, where the fishers use traps or pots rather than large nets which results in a minimal habitat damage or loss of other wildlife. And well, they just taste good!

All over the lower mainland you will find festival after festival celebrating these little crustaceans. They do taste unique unto themselves, and offer a sweet soft bite rather than the smart snap of say the tiger prawn, which come from Thailand and other areas where they need to be sprayed with a preserving method that leaves them a tad rubbery, and well, affected. Spot Prawns surprise most people the first time due to their soft texture, but once you pop a few, you will be hooked. I know of a great festival in its ninth year that is nearby in False Creek that you and your friends and family may want to enjoy over this long Victoria Day Weekend, and look at that - sunny skies are on the horizon to boot! Making the weather ideal for porches, balconies, and backyard grills to be fired up, beers to be popped, and wine to sipped. In that spirit, find a great recipe to use for your Spot Prawn haul below. Happy Victoria Day Vancouver!

Where to find, ahem, Pandalus platyceros – aka Spot Prawns this weekend?

Spot Prawn Festival – False Creek
Sunday, May 17, 2015
False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf
1505 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver

The Chefs’ Table Society of British Columbia celebrates the start of BC spot prawn season with its ninth annual Spot Prawn Festival. Festival day is on Sunday May 17, 2015 at False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf. Get your tickets for the Spot Prawn Boil today, and watch the events calendar for more ways to get your fill of this local and sustainable crustacean.

Live spot prawns from Organic Ocean and other prawn boats

Bring cash and get to the dock early to buy your spot prawns!  Starting at noon on Festival day, and between noon and 2 pm for the remainder of the spot prawn season, catch the Organic Ocean and other prawn boats with their catch of live BC spot prawns. Don’t miss the boats!

Buy Tickets here to attend the ever popular and always sold out Prawn Boil for only $17.50!!!
Each admission to the Spot Prawn Boil includes:
•    A plate of three succulent BC spot prawns plus a selection of side dishes and bread from Terra Breads
•    Access to the drink tent for free samples from our sponsors Salt Spring coffee, R&B Brewery, and Summerhill Pyramid winery.

Here is one of my all-time favorite recipes for Spot Prawns – hope you enjoy.

Simple preparation of this succulent crustacean allows its flavours to shine. Adapted from a recipe by the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen.

•    2 pounds head- and tail-on Vancouver spot prawns
•    5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
•    2 garlic cloves, minced
•    1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
•    3 tablespoons Pernod or ouzo
•    2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds, divided, plus 1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced crosswise
•    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
•    6 cups (lightly packed) baby arugula
•    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Using a small knife or kitchen shears, butterfly shrimp from tail to base of head, leaving peel and head on; de-vein.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes; sauté until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in Pernod and 1 tablespoon fennel fronds. Season with salt and pepper. Add prawns; toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature, tossing occasionally,for 30 minutes.

Prepare a grill to high heat. Grill prawns, brushing with marinade from bowl, until bright pink and just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Mix sliced fennel bulb and arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons oil over; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange salad on a plate. Top with shrimp, garnish with 1 tablespoon chopped fronds.