I think I have mentioned once or twice before that I love seafood….Ok maybe 3 times.
Although I will take the opportunity to order prawns when I can at a restaurant (given that this is a land locked country they tend to be quite expensive here) I have never actually cooked any at home. So when I found a reasonably priced box of prawns at Shoprite Checkers, I seized the day! Then I got home and realized why they were quite reasonably priced: they were straight from the sea, unshelled, with heads and tails. Silly me! Should have read the box! But I figured I may as well learn how to prepare them from scratch as it were. The reason this is such a big deal for me is that prawns and shrimp with heads, legs and the whole nine yards kinda creep me out. It’s the eyes and feeler thingies, I get a creepy crawly insect vibe from them. I know, I fear food that I like to eat, it’s the dumbest thing! But seriously….
I began by finding an article on how to prepare prawns, read that thoroughly then looked for a video on how to shell prawns. The video also helped me ensure the prawns I had had the correct appearance (bad seafood is another fear). After watching the chef in the video casually behead a prawn, shell and de-vein it, I got my knife and attacked a small pile of defrosted prawns.
I’m pretty sure I winced every time I had to cut a head off and screamed a little inside when cutting out the black vein but I got through it eventually.
I seasoned them with lemon pepper, salt, paprika, fish spice, sage and ginger. I seasoned generously with the paprika though because I wanted them to be spicy. According to the chef in the video, some may opt to leave the tail on for decorative purposes but I decided to remove them since I wasn’t in the mood to be playing with my food anyway.
I fried them in some butter with green peppers and cut up cocktail tomatoes.
I let them sit under the grill on a low temp till I was done preparing the rest of my meal. I drilled a little lemon juice on them when I took them out of the grill. Restaurants where I’ve had prawns usually make them very creamy/cheesy or leave them fairly plain only adding some salt and lemon juice so I wanted to try having them a little more spicy. It worked out quite well, I can’t complain.
I had them with sweet corn/maize and pasta with a creamy mint and herb sauce. Now that I’m somewhat comfortable with beheading and de-veining them I’ll take a more adventurous recipe next time. I have found that most recipes online don’t differentiate between shrimps and prawns. Whatever recipe works for one is bound to work for the other. We’ll see how the next one goes!