Growing up I disliked 4 things: peppers, pineapple, pork, and prawns. Maybe I just had a thing against foods that started with ‘P’??
Up until a few years ago, I had only been exposed to those frozen prawn rings, you know the ones with the cocktail sauce? They seemed to make an appearance every Christmas and I just assumed that all prawns tasted like that. Boy was I wrong. Spot prawns are in a completely different league and are nothing like the watery prawns of my childhood. They have a wonderful firm texture and a delicate sweetness. It’s safe to say that I have been converted.
I’m extremely fortunate to have parents that live on BC’s Sunshine Coast. For the past few years my vacations have consisted of relaxing ocean side and enjoying fresh seafood. Some days we are fortunate enough to catch the seafood ourselves! Each April, before the commercial fishing opens, we try to catch as many Spot Prawns as we can and freeze them to be enjoyed throughout the year.
You can buy fresh BC Spot Prawns between May-June. Spot prawns are caught in traps and hand-picked from those traps, a practice which keeps the fishery sustainable, but also makes these little critters quite expensive. One tip when preparing the prawns is to use scissors to cut a slit down the back of each prawn. This makes peeling easier once they are cooked, and allows you to easily remove the vein (of poop). If you want you can peel them before cooking, but I think they look pretty with their shells on.
This easy pasta dish really showcases the natural flavour of the Spot Prawns and is simply dressed with garlic, lemon, and a little heat from chili flakes. Plus, as always, I’ve added tomatoes and spinach for a punch of veggies. If you can’t find Spot Prawns you can substitute your favourite fish or seafood. I often make this dish using salmon and it’s equally as delicious.
Spot Prawn Linguine
Recipe by Kirsten, serves 4
454g linguine noodles
20 Spot Prawns, deveined, peeled or unpeeled (your choice)
¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste.
1 pint of cherry tomatoes or 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped.
2 large handfuls of spinach
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 to 2 cups of reserve pasta water
Salt + pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta according to package directions in salted boiling water. Reserve 1-2 cups of pasta water, then drain pasta and set aside.
2. While the pasta is cooking, melt butter with olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes soften and begin to release their juices 3-5 minutes.
3. Add prawns and cook until they turn pink, about 2 minutes. Do not over cook.
4. Add lemon juice, zest, and spinach to the prawns and cook until spinach wilts.
5. Mix together cooked pasta and prawn mixture, if it seems dry add small amounts of the reserved pasta water until desired consistency.
6. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.