If you can't achieve the look yourself….I've failed at my job
All I wanted to do was get some fresh prawns (shrimps) for a couple of friends and that would be the start of me learning what I didn’t know about live spot prawns. I thought that I would just go to the local asian market, buy a couple of pounds from the tanks and….’surprise, look what I got you!’ Not so much petals.
First, if you buy farmed, then you have to know where they’re sourced from. Either they can be contaminated with heavy metals, loaded with antibiotics or the farms they’re raised on are destroying their local habitat.
What really got me suspicious was when my friend went to
Steveston, BC to have a fresh seafood dinner and got frozen seafood instead and to top off their less then great meal, they watched a local fishing boat receive a fresh ‘catch’ of frozen fish. Bait? I don’t think bait is frozen whole fishes. So back to the shrimp, or rather spot prawns, they protandric hermaphroditic, meaning that each individual will start off a male and then passes through a tradition stage to female. Here in BC, the spot prawn lives up to 4 years only transforming
into female for the final year of their life. Now wouldn’t that be fun?
So let’s go back to asian food market with the tanks of live shrimp. It seems that live shrimp when dying release an enzyme that will quickly deteriorate the meat (turn it soft and mushy) if left alive too long out of water or simply in a tank of water . Oh and on a quick side note for the kind hearted, don’t place the shrimp in tap water to store them, the chlorine in our water will kill them immediately and you guess it, the enzyme kicks in and destroys the meat. So lesson here petals? If you’re going to let them die, rip the head off, but don’t throw them out, the heads can be cooked as well, and then you just suck the juices out of them.
So there you have it in a nut shell, you want the shrimp fresh, alive,lively and translucent with firm heads, no more then a day old. If the head is soft then the meat will also be soft and mushy, oh, and the heads should also be free of any black spots, any discolouration means that the meat has already started to deteriorate. I think I might have some fishermen and sellers angry with me creating shoppers who want to squeeze the head of their shrimps before buying, oh well.
So my apologies for the late post, Thursday just kind of got away on me this week, however, go down to the fishmen wharf between the Burrard bridge and the Granville bridge, I understand the boats start selling around 1pm and there is just a week left in the season. There’s also a cute little fish and chips stand at the top of the wharf. Your welcome.