The spot shrimp season in Puget Sound and Hood Canal is off to a great start and many anglers will be coming home with their fresh catch to prepare.
Seattle chef and restaurateur Tom Douglas offers his tasty recipe with a delightful kick. Douglas will contribute some of his recipes and seasonal serving suggestions for the Reel Time Fishing NW blog in our Catch of the Week each Wednesday through October.
Catch of the Day will also include recipes from other local chefs, tackle shop owners and fish-market owners.
Douglas is owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, Dahlia Bakery, Etta’s, Serious Pie Downtown, Seatown, Brave Horse Tavern, Cuoco, Serious Biscuit and Serious Pie Westlake. Another new Douglas restaurant, Tanaka San will open in June at the Via6 Apartment Complex in downtown Seattle.
Szechwan Salt and Pepper Spot Prawns/ Tom Douglas
From Tom Douglas Seattle Kitchen
Makes four servings
Our local spot prawns are sweet and tender with great flavor and melt in your mouth texture. As with any prawns, cook them in the shell for the most flavor.
It’s important to get your wok or pan as hot as you possibly can. If you can get your wok or pan hot enough, you’ll be able to cook the shells so crispy that they will actually be edible.
Ingredients for Szechwan Pepper-Salt
¼ teaspoon Szechwan peppercorns
¼ teaspoon white peppercorns
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Ingredients for spot prawns
¼ cup peanut oil
1 pound large prawns in the shell, split down back, vein removed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon minced serrano chile, or more to taste
To make the Szechwan pepper-salt, in a small saute pan, on medium heat, toast the Szechwan and white peppercorns about 3 minutes. Stir. They will smoke and pop like popcorn but don’t let them burn. Cool, then coarsely grind the pepper in a spice mill and combine with salt in a little bowl. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok (or large saute pan) on high heat. Toss the prawns in the cornstarch in a small bowl, and shake off the excess cornstarch by shaking coated prawns in a sieve. Add the prawns to the wok and cook 2 to 3 minutes, tossing a few times to cook prawns through on both sides. Holding the prawns in place with large spatula or other implement, tip wok and pour off excess oil and discard. Add the garlic, minced serrano, and the Szechwan pepper-salt. Return the wok to the heat and toss the prawns with the spices until the spices release their fragrance and coat the shells, about 1 minute.
These will look beautiful served very simply on a pretty plate garnished with lime wedges. If you can find fresh pea vines in a local farmer’s market, arrange them on your platter and set the seared prawns on top.
(Photo by Greg Gilbert, Seattle Times staff photographer)