Prawn

Prawn

Shrimp

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

Small clawless crustaceans, possibly the most popular of all seafood. Prawns, and their relatives scampi and shrimp, are a delicacy enjoyed by people all over the world. Prawns are delicious eaten freshly boiled, either warm or chilled and served with plenty of brown bread and butter, a squeeze of lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper.

Cooked prawns are used in some recipes but in most cases it is best to use fresh green, or raw, prawns. The delicate flesh of prawns does not stand up to being cooked twice – it will toughen and lose much flavour. The appearance of some deep-sea prawns, such as the royal reds, make them unsuitable for some cold prawn dishes, but they are splendid in many cooked dishes.

To buy: Whether green or freshly boiled, prawns should be whole and undamaged. The heads should be firm and unbroken and the tails unsquashed and intact. Raw prawns should be washed and free of any mud, and the flesh firm and translucent. The colour of cooked prawns varies according to the variety. Some are rich red while others turn a pale pink. Green or cooked prawns should each be stored by the fishmonger with plenty of crushed ice mixed through them; they should be reminiscent of the sea, with a mild, prawny smell.

To clean: Remove the head, shell, legs and tail (unless recipe specifies otherwise). Remove the black vein, which may be gritty, particularly in the larger prawns, by slitting along the back and pulling it out.

To boil: Wash thoroughly, then put into a large container of briskly boiling seawater, or fresh water with 2 teaspoons salt added to it for each 1 kg prawns. Too much salt will toughen the prawns. Boil for 2–3 minutes or until the prawns rise to the surface. Remove immediately, cool quickly in fresh cold water, drain and mix with crushed ice. Or, if you prefer, eat them while still warm with plenty of freshly ground black pepper, brown bread and butter and lemon juice.

Frozen and tinned prawns: Choose untorn, well-wrapped packs without clumps of ice on the package. Prawns coated with breadcrumbs and frozen ready for cooking do not have to be thawed before frying. Use frozen or tinned prawns in sauces, fillings and stuffing.

See also Garlic Prawns and Prawn Curry.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

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