This year, I am merging a west coast Canadian delicacy with a traditional Italian twist. I butterfly BC Spot Prawn tails, stuff them with a anchovy-filled, garlicky and spicy compound butter that is reminiscent of Italian Bagna Cauda. I then fry the prawns up in olive oil until they are bright orange, juicy, and coated in that tasty butter. Spot prawns are only in season for a few more weeks, so get them while they last !
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes
- 1 pound live, fresh BC Spot Prawns
- 1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (equivalent to three anchovy fillets)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Lemons, for garnish
Begin by preparing the spot prawns. If they are a live, remove the heads. Pick up the prawn and hold its head between your thumb and index finger. With your opposite hand, pinch just behind the head and give it a twist. This quickly kills the prawn and removes the bulk of the head/brain/guts and legs from the prawn. Discard the head and set the tails aside in a bowl. Continue with the remaining prawns. Once all cleaned, rinse with water and let the prawns sit for 10 minutes, until they relax.
In the meantime, prepare the Bagna Cauda butter. Add the butter, garlic, red chili flakes, anchovies, lemon zest, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of parsley to a bowl and mix until fully combined. Set aside and let the flavours come together while you prepare the prawns.
Next, we will butterfly the prawns. Use a sharp paring knife to cut through the shell, down the back of the prawn in a lengthwise fashion, almost to the bottom of the shell. Gently open the meat and remove the vein/intestinal tract from the prawn (this will be thin and black/brown in colour). Stuff about 1/2 teaspoon of the butter mixture into the prawn. Repeat for the remaining prawns.
Once all the prawns are stuffed, we will cook them. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and tilt the pan around to ensure that the bottom of the pan gets fully coated in oil. Place each prawn cut-side down into the pan and cook for 60 seconds. Flip them over to the other side and cook for another 60 seconds.
The spot prawns don’t take too long to cook and you don’t want to overcook them or else they will turn rubbery. Once they have turned bright orange and the meat is opaque white, then they are done. Remove the pan from the heat and add another 2 tablespoons of butter. Let the butter melt in the hot pan and toss the prawns so that they get fully coated in the butter.
Serve straight away with a few slices of lemon and lots of napkins! These spot prawns are tasty and messy 🙂