The Not-So Humble Prawn
Claire Partridge takes inspiration from around the world proving how a prawn may be simple but is far from humble!
Prawns are amazing – fact. Whether you call them shrimps, prawns, shellfish, crustacean- we can all agree they’re simply delicious.
From tiny tasty prawns to huge shell on tiger prawns, these creatures are absolutely delicious, nutritious and oh so versatile. They are high in protein, low in calories, and some even contain selenium – an antioxidant that activates enzymes and can help fight the growth of cancer-causing free radicals, such as tiger prawns.
So there you have it: decision made, they are anything but humble.
Aside from the nutritional elements, its prawns’ versatility that needs to be championed and here’s just a selection of worldwide cuisines that you can enjoy.
At the heart of each of these cuisines, I present the humble prawn…
I’ll avoid any “shrimps on the barbie” jokes but I can’t deny that they do taste wonderful when barbequed. Marinate first in lemon, coriander and olive oil, then throw on the grill and wait until pink and cooked through. This works best for your big, shell on, meaty varieties and don’t forget to flip halfway through cooking for an even, smoky flavour.
No special fried rice is complete without a range of meats and some prawns thrown in.
Did you know you can even buy prawns dried? Yep, sun-dried prawns are a thing. Shrunk to the size of a thumbnail, a small handful of these are perfect in a range of Thai soups or Asian wok dishes for a more intense flavour.
Smaller prawns taste great in the British classic prawn cocktail. A pre-made sauce can be delicious and a great relief if you’re in a hurry, coated prawns, crunchy iceberg lettuce and a wedge of lemon per serving are all you need to serve up this 70s dinner party classic. Wearing flared trousers as you eat it is optional.
The shores of the Caribbean Sea are the ideal inspiration for grilled prawns flavoured with allspice, ground pepper, garlic, and hot cayenne. Make a marinade by mixing oil and spices together, coat prawns and refrigerate for an hour, then grill. Serve with spicy rice for a real classic taste of the Caribbean.
Chilli, prawn and garlic linguine is an Italian pasta classic. King prawns are ideal here. Pre-cook linguine, fry chilli and garlic until softened, add in the prawns, a splash of lime juice and then heat the linguine through the pan. A 20-minute dinner that takes you straight back to the shores of the Amalfi Coast and doesn’t use any heavy, creamy sauces, but don’t forget some fresh parmesan to garnish – even if that’s not strictly authentic!
Walk into any tapas bar in Spain and you’ll likely find prawns on the menu fried in garlic and olive oil. Simple and delicious, enjoy them served with a cold beer on a hot summer’s day. If you’re really wanting to impress the locals, call them by their Spanish name: Gambas al Ajillo.
Tasty prawns can take you on a tour of worldwide cuisines with different styles and flavouring, all of which are full of flavour, proving they’re never humble.
Written by Claire Partridge – alter ego What Claire Did – a 29 year old blogger from Glasgow in Scotland who loves cooking, eating out and travel.