Prawns are a tasty and nutritious addition to any meal, but they can be intimidating to cook. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to prepare prawns so you can enjoy them without stress.
How to Select Prawns
Some prawns are frozen as soon as caught to keep them as fresh as possible. Here’s what you should know if you buy them fresh.
Fresh prawns, whether cooked or raw, should not smell fishy and should appear moist; avoid those that appear dry or with cracked shells. Prawns can be purchased raw or cooked; they are sometimes prepared (head and shell removed) or left in the shell. Prawns are blue-grey when raw and turn pink when cooked.
How to Prepare Prawns
If you buy prawns in their shells, you must peel them. Peeling the prawns after cooking will result in juicier, more flavorful prawns, but you can also peel them while they are still raw.
Begin by twisting the prawn’s head off while holding the body. Working from the head to the tail end, pull the shell open along the length of the belly. Depending on your preferences, the very end of the shell can be left on or off.
If there is a black line running down the back of the prawn, you should remove it because it indicates that the intestinal tract is complete. It is not harmful to consume, but it can be gritty. To remove it, run a small, sharp knife along the length of the black line.
How to Keep Prawns
Keep prawns fresh in their original packaging or a sealed container, as with all fish and shellfish, and eat within 24 hours of purchase. Frozen prawns will keep much longer.
How to Cook Prawns
Grilling is one of the most popular methods for cooking prawns. Marinated in garlic, lemon juice, herbs, and olive oil, grilled prawns have a wonderful smoky flavour that pairs perfectly with crisp salads and roasted vegetables. To grill your prawns properly, make sure to heat your grill before adding them on. Once the grill is hot enough (you should be able to hold your hand an inch or two over it comfortably), add the prawns and cook until pinky-orange, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Another delicious way to cook prawns is with a stir fry. Prawns absorb the flavours of whatever they’re cooked with, so this is a great time to get creative. Start by heating some oil in your wok and adding garlic and ginger for flavour. When your aromatics are just beginning to turn golden brown, add in the prawns, along with whatever ingredients you’d like – bell peppers, bok choy, mushrooms, carrots – then let it cook until everything is tender and the prawns are pinky-orange. Finally, season the stir fry to taste with soy sauce or other sauces of your choice!
One more easy-to-prepare option is to bake your prawns. This method requires minimal effort and yields juicy succulent results. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminium foil. Place the prawns on the baking sheet and season them liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika – whatever you’d like! Bake for 10 minutes until the prawns are pinky-orange and slightly crisped around the edges. Serve them alone as an appetizer or alongside rice or roasted vegetables for a complete meal.
These are just some of the many easy ways to prepare delicious prawns in no time at all. With these methods under your belt, you’ll be able to enjoy prawns whenever the craving strikes!