The sun is beating down on beautiful Cumbria today-I have no desire to be next to my aga today so this will be a quick, possibly romantic, meal for two. I knew there must be some advantages to having an empty nest. You can have this on the table in a trice with a few freezer/store cupboard items. I used good quality frozen raw large prawns-not just because I didn’t want to venture forth-it would be lovely to have ‘local catch’ prawns available for when the urge takes me but it is not always possible, and, depending where you live, almost impossible. Most of the ‘ordinary’ prawns you see on the fish counter-cooked and therefore pink in colour, have been frozen previously and defrosted for sale. They freeze well, often immediately on the fishing vessel before they have even touched shore, but they don’t travel well so it is often best to buy them frozen raw (grey in colour) which gives you control over the whole fishy process.
When buying any sort of prawn get them in the shell and peel them yourself the flavour is much better and you can use the shells to make a quick fish stock if you are feeling virtuous….Defrost your prawns on some kitchen paper to make sure that they don’t sit in water and this helps to keep the flavour. If you are lucky and geographically in the optimum place and are able to buy fresh they should smell ‘fresh’ and not ‘fishy’ and have bright shells with no darkening or black spots.
One more thing….what is a prawn or a shrimp………the classification and names of prawns can be confusing and open to interpretation: Generally speaking we buy PRAWNS in the UK, small, medium or large. They can also be called TIGER PRAWNS or KING PRAWNS for the larger ones or just NORTH ATLANTIC PRAWNS. Most prawns are called SHRIMP in the USA. Here in the north west we have very small brown prawns which WE call shrimps-these delicious little mouthfuls are fished along the Solway coast. They are lovingly hand peeled and when potted up with butter and a little mace are a true Cumbrian delicacy. The mediterranean prawns are sometimes called CREVETTES. DUBLIN BAY PRAWNS (also known as LANGOUSTINES) are much larger and look like little lobsters with heads eyes and claws…………………………………..CONFUSED? so am I.