This announcement is somewhat old news at this point, but for those who haven’t heard yet the commercial prawn fishery season for 2010 opened May 6th, 2010 at noon. The official notices for the South Coast and Fraser River and North Coast can be found in the links (note DFO requires you to login to look at these announcements). Note: these notices can and will be superseded by any following notices which can be found on the dept of fisheries website.
The season will last until the areas are surveyed and deemed unfit for future fishing. Which means that any area could close more or less at any time, but in general the season lasts until late June. Nows the time to get your prawn supply.
This is really a simple recipe to do your prawns on the barbie along with some of your other meal components.
I have had success with this technique while finishing steaks or salmon on the barbie. Part Western union fees of the trick is to do your prawns in the last minute or two while you cook your steak. But before you fling them on the BBQ here are the very simple prep steps:
Toss and mix the lot in a bowl to spread things around.
Just before your steak is done, while the barbeque is still hot, dump the prawns tails onto the grill and stir them around constantly to even out the heat. Watch the colour of the meat, and pull them off as soon as the ends of the prawns are all white.
Serve immediately. A little bit of smoke from the steak goes a long, long way and makes for a very tasty treat. Enjoy!
1 pound of prawn tails
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
1 red thai chilli seeded chopped finely (or to taste)
3 tbsp. lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon oil
2 or 3 baby bok choy
3 green onions
2 teaspoons sweet chilli sauce or to taste
Shell prawns. Combine prawns in a large bowl with garlic, cilantro, chilli, juice and sugar. Heat half of the oil in wok , stir-fry prawns until just changed in colour. Heat remaining oil with pan liquids in wok, stir fry bok choy, onion and sauce til tender. Combine bok choy mixture and prawns in wok till hot. Serve prawns on herbed rice.
Commercial fishing for BC Spot Prawns is open! As of May 7th 12:00 the commercial prawn fishing season for 2009 is opening. Both the North Coast and South Coast are open for commercial fishing until further notice. This is a great opportunity to head down to your local wharf and pick up some fresh prawns to make your BBQ’s delicious.
As always the official announcements of the beginning of the season can be found on the DFO website. But for those who are looking for the announcements there are PDF copies of the announcements here for the South Coast and the North Coast.
Sustainable Highlights from the Announcements
In all areas, after opening day, all setting and hauling of prawn and shrimp traps will be permitted only between 0700 h (7:00 am) and 1900 h (7:00 pm) and hauling of traps will be permitted only once per day.
While the prawn traps are fairly good at making sure that only prawns are caught there is always a number of undersized prawns that will find their way into the prawn traps. One of the reasons to single haul is to give these prawns an opportunity to find their way out of the traps. If a trap is set in a place with a significant amount of prawns the prawn bait is generally all eaten before the trap is pulled back up, with no food in the trap the prawns make efforts to escape. Single hauling means that undersized prawns have the time that they need to be able to escape.
Spot Prawn Carapace Size Limits
The minimum size limit for prawns is 33 mm measured as carapace length. The minimum size for tailed prawns is 22 mm telson length.
The prawn carapace is measured from the rear of the prawn eye socket, to the end of the top rear end of the head portion of the shell. The carapace size limit makes it easy for fishers to quickly judge if a prawn is a legal size and only keep those prawns that meet the guidelines. Prawns are hermaphrodites so making sure that small prawns are not harvested before they have become females and spawned helps the spot prawn stocks remain strong from year to year.
BC Spot Prawns Ready to Be Sorted
Prawn Sorting and Bycatch
Traps must be sorted and undersized prawns released as each trap comes on board.
One of the important jobs on any commercial prawn fishing vessel is to sort the prawns as they come on board. Spot prawns are sorted immediately when they come on board the vessel. This allows any bycatch that comes up with the prawns to be quickly returned to the water. And it also means that prawns that are too small to be harvested are returned to the ocean with a minimum possible amount of stress.
All berried prawns must be released from opening day May 07 and until June 0/09.
Berried Prawns are prawns that still have eggs. Prawns hold their eggs under their body and as the eggs are ready they fall off as the eggs mature. While each prawns is able to produce many offspring, returning berried prawns to the sea gives the prawn stocks in that area the best possible opportunity to maintain their population. That said, catching spot prawns after they have spawned is ideal because the prawns die once they have spawned.
With the spot prawn fishing season for opening, May 8th it seems The Chefs’ Table Society has chosen to waste no time and is holding its third annual Spot Prawn Festival May 9th from 12pm-3pm. Preparing their special spot prawn dishes. This is a great opportunity to get some delicious ideas for preparing spot prawns and if the reports from last year are any indication the work that these chef’s do, is both beautiful and tasty.
The list of chefs participating this year includes: Warren Geraghty of West; John Bishop of Bishops; Francois Gagnon of Cin Cin; Don Dickson of South China Seas; Rob Feenie of Cactus Club; Dino Rinearts of Diva at the Met; Jean-Francis & Alessandra Quaglia of Provence Restaurants; Nico Scheurmans of Chambar; and Alana Peckham from Cru.
This year they are doing things a little bit differently and will be having cooking demonstrations at Granville Island at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on May 9th, 10th and 16th. Extending the festivities to branch clear into the following weekend. This is a great opportunity to get familiar with cooking this local and sustainable seafood!
Not only that but Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery, as the official wine sponsor of the BC Spot Prawn Festival, will donate 50 cents of each bottle of wine sold at partner restaurants during the Spot Prawn season to support the Chefs Table Society and the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Program. Which is a great excuse not only to eat great prawns but also to enjoy some local wine! Hallelujah, what a combination!
Alas if only the stars aligned I would be there! Eat some prawns and snap some pictures for me if you’re there!
The Calgary Herald has a great article up right now about trying to eat seafood that is being caught and managed in an environmentally responsible manner. The truth about which seafood choices are good for the environment and which are not, is generally left in the hands of the consumer, although as the Herald points out Fairmont hotels and resorts are also doing their bit to make responsible seafood eating possible for their clientele.
How to Choose Sustainable Seafood
The oceans really are a shared resource and every person who eats seafood has a responsibility to make seafood choices that will encourage every commercial fishery to be handled in a responsible and sustainable manner. As a consumer it can be really difficult to know which seafoods are being harvested sustainably and which are not. Thankfully, the folks at Seachoice.org have done a lot of research to make the job a lot easier for the rest of us. They have done a significant amount of work ranking most, if not all, of the Canadian seafood choices using the acclaimed science-based methodology developed by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. Not only have they done the work of ranking seafood choices in Canada, they have also distilled this work down into a wallet size format, so that you can legitimately make shopping and eating choices based on their recommendations.
Sustainable – Pacific Spot Prawns
Obviously, we’re excited that Trap Caught Pacific Spot Prawns are part of the Seachoice.org list. But even more than that, we’re excited that the power to make sustainable seafood choices is readily available AND large chains like the Fairmont are starting to stand up and make sure that they are practicing good stewardship of the seafood that they choose to serve. We’re hoping that many other restaurants, resorts and hotels move towards favouring or exclusively providing seafood that is Western union locations sustainable. The vitality and diversity of our oceans is a precious and worth protecting. If you’re an avid seafood connoisseur, please focus your culinary endeavours on sustainable seafood!
The 100-Mile Diet was a great experiment started by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, it’s amazing the uptake and excitement that this book and idea has caused. In a nutshell, the 100-Mile Diet is commitment to eat food that comes from within 100 miles (160 kilometers) of where you live. It’s a great example of thinking globally and acting locally. A real world example of the personal changes that will be required to change the environmentally destructive path that we are currently traveling on. It’s amazing how much of our food travels thousands of miles to grace our dinner plates and equally amazing how much great food is available within 100 miles. In a world where marketing seems to matter more than distance, eating locally really is a counter culture thing to do. Globalization of our food system has not only meant that our food is traveling huge distances to get to us it has also meant that we have been disconnected from the food producers, which is a loss for all of us socially. Not only that, with the entire food infrastructure being built up around lower food costs the thing there seems to be less focus on creating great tasting, fresh and healthy eating experiences. The 100 mile diet brings many of these issues into focus.
100 Mile Radius Around Vancouver, BC
The authors were living in Vancouver, BC and, if you look at their 100 mile radius, you can see that there is a LOT of ocean in that circle (if you’re interested to check out your 100 mile radius they’ve built a great tool to help you see what 100 miles from your home includes). As a consequence, being able to find local food from the sea became one of the protein sources for the original 100-mile diet. For them that meant haunting the local docks to see what seafood was becoming available and buying and preserving that food for the long winter ahead. You can read the adventures of the authors as they bought and cooked up a batch of fresh prawns during their year of eating locally.
As a local food for people throughout the West Coast of Canada prawns can be one of their go-to seafoods. Prawns are caught up and down the coast, so there is very likely a fisher who is catching prawns nearby. And while prawns are delicious fresh they can also be easily frozen and preserved for weeks and even months with very little ill affect making them available to see as a local food throughout the winter. That said at the moment there are only a few fisherman who maintain a stock of frozen spot prawns through the winter so if you are interested in having local seafood through the winter your best bet is to stock up during the fishing season, or get in touch and we can source some frozen prawns from our network of fishers.
While spot prawns tend to be sent largely to the Japanese market, there is a great opportunity for people on the West Coast of Canada and Pacific North West of America to start enjoying prawns and have all the benefits of eating locally.
Prawns have a delicious sweet flavour which is nicely accentuated when the prawns are accompanied by some kind of sauce. When served as a standalone appetizer, prawns almost always have an accompanying sauce, so to guide the uninitiated, here are two quick, tasty, easy, must-have sauces for your recipe book.
Garlic Butter is a classic sauce for prawns! It is also incredibly simple, mince (or press) some garlic, mix it with a block of butter and warm the to ingredients in a frying pan warm over on an element on low to medium heat. Keep stirring, to avoid burning the butter and the garlic! It really helps to cut the garlic as small as possible. Cutting the garlic down to a smaller size allows you to easily pick up the garlic when dipping the prawn. If you’re really in a hurry, using the microwave is an option, but because it is much harder to keep an eye on how the sauce is progressing you’re better off to use a frying pan on the stove.
Proportions – while there aren’t any hard and fast rules about proportions when making garlic butter but to start try:
125ml (1/2 cup) of butter
2 cloves of garlic
These proportions will make a garlic butter sauce that is nicely flavoured without being overwhelmingly garlic-y. If you’re looking for more garlic-y, you know what to do! Double up on the garlic until your eyes start to burn
Cocktail sauce is a spicy red sauce. I wish I could be more specific, but depending on where you are in the world they will serve you entirely different things when you ask for cocktail sauce. In general, it involves some combination of ketchup and horseradish, although mayonaise is sometimes added to the mix and occasionally chili sauce replaces the ketchup. So, as with any cooking let your tongue be your guide. For a simple cocktail sauce try:
1/2 c (125ml) of ketchup
1 tbsp (15 ml) horseradish
If you’re stuck for how to cook the prawns in the first place here’s the two line recipe! From our previous post on preparing prawns.
Take a pot of cold water, (NO SALT) and bring to boil on stove
Take a good look at the clock and count TWO minutes from the time they TOUCH the boiling water
There are many, many other recipes out there for sauces for spot prawns. If you have a favorite that you think we should list let us know in the comments!
One of the fascinating points about the prawn industry in BC is that as much as 90% of the prawns caught in BC are shipped to Japan and eaten in Japanese sushi restaurants. In Japan, spot prawn sushi is called “Ama Ebi (sometimes written Amaebi)“. Ama translated is “sweet” and Ebi is the Japanese word applied to a vareity of prawns and shrimp, so the name translated boils down to “The Sweet Shrimp”. Ama Ebi does not specify a specific species of prawn or shrimp so while BC spot prawns are generally used for Ama Ebi, you can’t be certain that you’ll be getting spot prawns when you order Ama Ebi unless you ask. That said, Ama Ebi is the primary reason that the spot prawn market is strong in Japan. The firm texture, sweet flavor and clean deep water habitat of BC spot prawns makes them a great choice for Ama Ebi. Not only that, but because they have a relatively short lifespan, less than 4 years, there is little opportunity for the build up Moneygram online of heavy metals in the meat as there is in other seafood.
“British Columbia spot prawns, known to be well-managed and caught with environmentally responsible traps, are an excellent option. They are commonly used in ama ebi dishes in the United States and are the best choice for sushi-going shrimp afficionados.”
Ama Ebi – The Sushi
The prawn/shrimp is served nigiri style, which means that the head and shell are removed, the meat is partially cut down the middle, the central vein is removed and the meat is laid across a small oblong portion of sushi rice. The prawn meat should be translucent.
The prawn head is deep fried and served with the prawn meat and sushi rice. As it is nigiri, the prawns should be served in pairs. The deep fried prawn head can be eaten shell and all, though, as you would imagine, it does require a fair bit of care.