Spot prawns with Allioli

Spot prawns with Allioli

Spot prawns, Pandalus platyceros

Restaurants in Vancouver are holding spot prawn festivals and I am sure they have wonderful ways with prawns but we pass on restaurant fare and prefer to cook them at home.

Boiling or steaming the prawns is the best way to cook them and all they need is vinegar and shredded ginger or Allioli. This is so easy to do at home and is much cheaper too, or rather you can eat many more prawns for the money. Also, eating prawns is messy and sucking on the heads is best done in private.

A meal of prawns requires good timing. I have everything ready then dash to the wharf to get the star attraction. Then dash home to steam them.

I don’t know how long the prawns can stay alive out of water but they were quite frisky when I got them home. I kept them covered until I was ready to cook them otherwise they’ll be jumping all over the place. It drives the cats crazy when they see these red things flopping around on the floor.

Last year, when I was cleaning the fridge, I found a couple of dehydrated spot prawn at the back. I was tempted to try them to see if they were like Chinese dried shrimps.

Get a couple of pounds of spot prawns, some wine or beer, make a salad and you’ll have yourself a feast:


Two pounds of live spot prawns (about 24 prawns)


One large egg, at room temperature
One tablespoon of white wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, peeled – add more garlic if you like
Coarse sea salt (about half a teaspoon)
Half a cup of Spanish extra virgin olive oil and half a cup of corn oil, combined


To make the Allioli: I used a whisk but a food processor fitted with a metal blade works fine.

1. In a mortar mash the salt, vinegar and garlic cloves together to form a paste.
2. Add the egg and whisk to blend evenly.
3. Add the oil, drop by drop and whisk the mixture hard.
4. The mixture will soon thicken and then pour the oil in a slow, steady stream while you keep whisking until the sauce is thick and smooth.

To steam:

Fill a wok or dutch oven with water. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Put the prawns in bamboo steamer, cover and steam for five minutes. Put the bamboo steaming basket on a platter and bring to the table. Serve immediately.

To boil:

Fill a stockpot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Put the prawns in the boiling water and cook for about a minute.

Use a large strainer to remove the prawns. Put the prawns on a platter. Serve immediately.

Mr. KC likes to peel and eat the prawns, one at a time. I like to peel the prawns, arrange them on my plate, suck on the heads, wash my face and hands and then eat the prawn salad with a fork.

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