May in BC is the start of a short Spot Prawn season, a fishery that is run very sustainably with very little by-catch. I spent a few seasons deckhanding alongside one of my brothers and we would ceremoniously eat the first prawns of the season raw before then cooking up a feast but after we’d had our fill, it was time to get creative and we cooked up many recipes over the years. Spot Prawns In Fennel Tomato And Orange Broth is the perfect way to highlight the sweetness of the shrimp (spot prawns are a species of shrimp) and the broth can be made ahead and then gently reheated to poach the prawns in making this recipe fast and easy.
Spot Prawns In Tomato Fennel Broth
Poaching the prawns whole with head on is great for added flavour and for those who love slurping the juice from the top of the prawn (set out a bowl for empty shells) but if you’re not comfortable with that or you just want your dinner to be a little tidier, go ahead and shell the prawns first before cooking.
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Shallot, Finely Chopped
- 1 Garlic Clove, Minced
- 1/2 tsp Anise Seed
- Pinch Hot Pepper Flakes
- 1 Large Tomatoes, 1″ Dice
- 1 Bulb Of Fennel, Whites 1″ Dice And Fronds Reserved For Garnish
- 2 c Vegetable Broth
- 1 Navel Orange, Zested And Juiced
- 2 lb Prawns, Left Whole Or Peeled
- 1 Bunch Parsley, Coarsely Chopped For Garnish
In a wide saucepan with high sides (see picture), heat olive oil on medium heat and saute shallot, garlic, anise seed and hot pepper flakes until onion is translucent but not browned.
Add tomato and cook until mushy, then add fennel and saute until slightly softened.
Add broth, orange zest and juice and bring to a simmer. Prepare bowls in a warm oven, bread or toast if serving and set table. Once you are ready, add prawns to broth and cook just until opaque.
Once prawns are cooked, serve them in bowls immediately with plenty of broth and garnished with fennel fronds and parsley.