Wild spot prawns, harvested from the brisk waters of the Gulf of Alaska, are sometimes referred to as the lobster of Alaska. That should give you plenty of inspiration when it comes to working with this catch, and it should also be your cue to find a recipe that complements the characteristic sweetness and meatiness of this sustainably-harvested Pacific crustacean. These delectable qualities, along with the notably larger size of the spot prawn, set this catch apart from their widely available shrimp brethren.
Sure, to the uninitiated, spot prawns look a lot like large, regular ol’ shrimp when they’re in their shells — you’d be squinting to look for anatomical clues, like how their tails are shaped — and spot prawns are practically indistinguishable from shrimp when they’re naked. In fact, this is because spot prawns are a type of shrimp, the way that sockeye salmon are a type of salmon. Feel free to hop over to our Spot Prawns 101 for some species basics.
Here are eight perfect ways for you to enjoy our wild Alaskan spot prawns:
Thai-Marinated Spot Prawns and Herbed Yogurt
This recipe from Food & Wine Magazine dresses up grilled spot prawns with an easy sweet and sour marinade, served atop a simple shmear of herbed yogurt — the perfect recipe to have in your back pocket for a sunny, late spring afternoon. Just keep in mind you’ll need to let the prawns marinate for about two hours in the fridge before bringing it to your grill. Alternatively, if you’re limited to the indoors, you can cook these up on your stove top with a hot cast iron pan, preferably a grill pan to give you that classic char.
Springtime Harvest Aioli and Grilled Spot Prawns
You’ll want to save your spot prawn shells for this one, sauteing them up to infuse into a garlicky olive oil aioli that you’ll serve alongside perfectly grilled, or seared, spot prawns. Don’t worry if you don’t have the exact amount of shells that this Food52 recipe calls for — you’ll be able to extract plenty of flavor from what you have available, whether from just the shells you’ve peeled from the prawns you’re using for this dish or from a surplus that you’ve saved up in your freezer.
Spot Prawns Linguine
The ingredient list for this Italian-inspired recipe from Food Network for linguine with spot prawns may look basic, but don’t dismiss it as a boring dish. If you are using fresh, quality ingredients like wild Alaskan spot prawns, flavorful tomatoes canned in the peak of ripeness, and basil just snipped from the plant, an easily-accessible recipe like this becomes deliciously unforgettable.
Salt-Roasted Spot Prawns
Any wild Alaskan catch roasted in a salt crust is eminently instagrammable — but that’s not why you should make this dish from The Los Angeles Times. A salt crust for your spot prawns protects them from the drying heat of the oven, while the spices you’ve mixed into the crust will gently infuse the prawns with aromatic flavors. Think of it as an aromatherapeutic dry sauna for your soon-to-be dinner. The scent of smoked paprika, allspice, and freshly-cracked black pepper emanating from this spiced salt crust will get your mouth watering as you wait for your prawns to cook.
Butter-Poached Spot Prawns
If you’re fortunate enough to find that your spot prawns are loaded with roe, put that roe to its most decadent use with this recipe adapted from James Beard Award-winning chef Maria Hines. The roe gets whisked into a classic cream-butter sauce, with which you’ll gently poach your spot prawns to tender, sweet perfection.
Sauteed Spot Prawns with Early Summer Veggies
Fresh summer veggies get the royal treatment when they’re sauteed with spot prawns in this elegant, straightforward recipe from the Cooking Channel. There’s a part of the recipe where you’ve got to get a bit fancy to flambé the butter-brandy sauce; you can do this with a gas burner or an electric one with the help of a kitchen lighter, but if you’re an amateur home cook we recommend you take this flambé MasterClass from Gordon Ramsey before you get too carried away.
Grilled Spot Prawns and Sweet Corn Pudding
For a high-brow twist on shrimp and grits, try this recipe from Seattle chef Mark Fuller who uses fresh corn and crème fraîche to level up the dish’s grit game into a sweet pudding, adorning this creamy base with grilled and simply-dressed spot prawns.
Spot Prawn Risotto
This recipe from the Food Network for a seasonal risotto balances the creaminess of the dish against the bright flavors of lemon and herbs, setting the stage for simply prepared spot prawns and roasted spring veggies.