Every year for about 40 days in May and June, B.C. residents are fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy fresh spot prawns.
Spot prawns are very large prawns found off the West Coast of North America. They are distinguished by their reddish-brown colour (which turns bright pink when cooked), the white spots on their tail and the white horizontal bars on their heads. They are known for their sweet flavor and firm texture.
Prawns normally live for about four years. Interestingly, they are hermaphrodites so for the first two years of their lives, they are males and then they become females. The B.C. government heavily regulates and monitors the commercial spot prawn industry to ensure the population of spot prawns is sustainable. Prawn fishermen use traps along the rocky ocean floor to minimize the impact on the ocean habitat and that have holes that are large enough so that there are very low levels of bycatch of other species.
Some people eat spot prawns raw but that is a bit adventurous for me. I like to eat spot prawns that are steamed or added to salads or pasta dishes. No matter how you eat them, it is best to cook fresh, live spot prawns. This is because after they die, spot prawns release an enzyme from their brains which breaks down protein and turns the meat in the body and tail of the prawn mushy. Do not rinse the prawns in tap water as the chlorine will kill them instantly since they are used to living in saltwater. It is better to just keep them in a cold, dry environment and eat them as soon as possible after you have purchased them.
We are fortunate in Richmond that the Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf is right in our backyard. Pre-orders of spot prawns are currently sold out but you can still go down to the pier and try your luck at getting some in person!
As for wine pairings, my philosophy is that because the spot prawn is the star of the show, you should choose a wine that doesn’t compete for the limelight. My general rule is that with more sophisticated wines, I like to have very simple food but when I am trying to showcase the food, I choose simpler wines.
Since we are talking about B.C. spot prawns, I have chosen two B.C. wine pairings. An excellent wine pairing is with the Lake Breeze 2018 Pinot Blanc, priced at $19.99. Pinot Blanc is not going to have many strong flavours that will overpower the sweetness of the spot prawns. It might have a slight almond taste and some light citrus notes which will be just enough to cleanse your palate.
I also love a deal and I see that the Blasted Church 2019 Hatfield’s Fuse is on sale at B.C. liquor stores for $15.99 until June 5. I have always loved Blasted Church’s attitude about wines and their labels are always colourful and bring a smile to my face. Just check out their website and you will be a fan instantly! For more information about spot prawns and my pairing with this wine, check my video review on my YouTube channel.
Until next time, happy drinking!
Tony Kwan is a lifestyle writer. Lawyer by day, food and wine lover by night, Tony aims to give you an insider’s guide to the best that life has to offer.