Prawns – Origin and Characteristics

It doesn’t take much to make prawns taste delicious. Many eat them grilled with just a little garlic and chilli, others prefer them boiled and lightly seasoned on bread and some deep fry them and eat them with a dip. Prawns can be enjoyed for any occasion. They are a powerful protein supplier and are low in fat. Additionally, they are rich in iodine.

Food Facts Food Facts

Prawns

Class

shellfish

Calories

60 kcal per 100 g

Nutrients

1.3g carbohydrates, 0g fibre, 0.6g fat, 12g protein per 100 g

Season

available year-round

Storage

frozen or used same day as purchase

Shelf life

should be used on day of purchase

Prawns – Origin and Characteristics

Depending on their size, prawns have a variety of names. Smaller prawns are often referred to as shrimp, whereas gambas is a popular Spanish-style prawn dish. Scampi, on the other hand, are not actually prawns, as they have pincers, making them part of the lobster family. On average, prawns are up to ten centimetres long with a cylindrical body, which is protected by a thin shell, and have long feelers. They can be divided into warm and cold water prawns.

Prawns are native to every ocean, but are particularly prominent in the Arctic Ocean. The biggest fishing areas are in South East Asia, particularly on the coasts of Thailand and Vietnam. It is said that the colder the water, the tastier the prawn, which is why the cold water prawn is known as the most flavourful. In Switzerland you can buy prawns from the supermarket fish counter or frozen.

Prawns – Preparation

Prawns are an elegant addition to many dishes, but are all too often reserved for special occasions. This is probably party due to the fact that many don’t know how to prepare the shellfish, as the shell presents a certain challenge.

To enjoy a prawn, the shell, head and legs must be removed. The easiest method is to use your hands, but a knife can be used for cooked prawns. The head and tail can be separated from the body using a twisting motion, the legs can simply be pulled off and the shell must be peeled. As the intestinal tract has a bitter taste it is best to remove it too by making a small incision into the back of the prawn and then pulling it out in one long strip.

Those who particularly enjoy the taste of seafood can briefly fry or boil prawns in salted water for three minutes. Just add a little spicy sauce, lemon juice, pepper and salt and enjoy. For a more exotic take, try prawns on a stick with chili sauce. A classic Mediterranean take on the shellfish is prawns cooked in a tomato sauce or added to paella. They also taste great in soup or as a pizza topping. Their mild flavour lends itself well to many dishes – be inspired by our prawn recipes. 

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