Easy Recipes Inspired By My West Coast Kitchen Garden On Vancouver Island

Wild West Coast Prawns In Tomato Fennel Broth And Grilled

Wild West Coast Prawns In Tomato Fennel Broth And Grilled
Fresh BC Spot Prawns (Shrimp)
Fresh BC Spot Prawns (Shrimp)

For those that don’t know me well, I used to commercial fish here on the West Coast of Canada. I mostly deckhanded with my dad, occasionally I deckhanded on other boats too. Over the years I fished salmon, prawns, shrimp and halibut and each fishery was different. May in BC is the start of a short Spot Prawn season, a fishery that is run very sustainably with very little by-catch. Each boat must have a license which allows for a set amount of traps which fishers are allowed to pull up from the sea once per day during daylight hours. Prawns tend to live along steep cliffs and shores and because of the way they are processed on board, boats often fish in relatively sheltered areas. Live prawns need to be kept safely alive in tanks and prawns getting processed for freezing at sea need accurate weighing, measuring and packaging.

Spot Prawns Packaged And Processed By Me For Freezing And Shipping To Japan
Spot Prawns Packaged And Processed By Me For Freezing And Shipping To Japan

This makes for a pretty nice fishery-one where you actually get to sleep at night and get to shore occasionally to explore the inlets, old logging camps and beaches (as long as there is no broken gear that you’re staying up to fix before morning). If I sound sentimental, it’s because I am. Although there were times I was exhausted and never wanted to see another prawn again, there were many more times of seeing amazing untouched beauty away from civilization, seeing sea creatures I never knew existed and of course eating all the fresh prawns!

Grizzly Bears In Glendale Up Knights Inlet BC
Grizzly Bears In Glendale Up Knights Inlet BC
My Boat Cat, A Himalayan Cat Named Dudley Who Loved Prawns And Crab
My Boat Cat, A Himalayan Cat Named Dudley Who Loved Prawns And Crab

My brother and I who spent a few seasons deckhanding together would ceremoniously eat the first prawns of the season raw before then cooking up a feast. Often we ate them steamed or pan fried with garlic butter (cook gently just until opaque and immediately remove from heat so they don’t over cook) but after we’d had our fill, it was time to get creative. I can’t count the number of recipes we tried over the years but it was a lot! Today I’m sharing two recipes, Spot Prawns In Fennel Tomato Broth and simple Grilled Prawns.

Oceanwise Spot Prawns In Tomato Orange Fennel Broth
Oceanwise Spot Prawns In Tomato Orange Fennel Broth
Fresh West Coast Peel And Eat Spot Prawns (Shrimp)
Fresh West Coast Peel And Eat Spot Prawns (Shrimp)

These are both delicious and easy, the first because the broth can be made ahead and then gently reheated to poach the prawns in and the second recipe needs nothing more than a hot grill and a little herbed garlic butter to baste with. The spot prawn season will only last a month or two so be sure to get down to your local fishing wharf or fishmonger to buy some fresh or frozen at sea, you won’t be dissappointed! (Here in Campbell River you can buy live prawns at Crabby Bob’s at the fisherman’s wharf)

Fresh Easy Spot Prawn Recipe With Garlic Tomato And Fennel
5 from 6 votes
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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.

Author Sabrina Currie

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.

    Shallots, Garlic, Fennel And Hot Pepper Flakes For Prawns In Broth
  2. Add tomato and cook until mushy, then add fennel and saute until slightly softened.

    Tomatoes and fennel make an aromatic broth for Oceanwise West Coast Prawns (Shrimp)
  3. 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. 

    Sustainable Shrimp/Prawns In Tomato Fennel Orange Broth
  4. Once prawns are cooked, serve them in bowls immediately with plenty of broth and garnished with fennel fronds and parsley.

    Fresh, Oceanwise Spot Prawn Recipe With Tomato And Fennel
Fresh West Coast Peel And Eat Spot Prawns (Shrimp)
5 from 6 votes
Print

Grilled Peel And Eat Spot Prawns With Garlic Herb Butter

Delicious and easy, these large size shrimp are perfect to toss on the grill, basting a few times with garlic butter and herbs, then served on a platter with lots of napkins for your guests to eat, shelling them as they go.

My best tips? Cook the prawns minimally to avoid overcooking and serve them outside on a picnic table covered in newspaper for easy cleanup.

Course Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course, Seafood
Cuisine PNW, West Coast
Keyword Fast, Grilling, Oceanwise, Prawns, Shellfish, Shrimp, Spot Prawns, Wild SEafood
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Author SabCurrie

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Fresh Spot Prawns Live whole prawns, fresh or thawed prawn tails
  • 1/4 c Butter
  • 2 tbsp Parsley, Finely chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice, Fresh Squeezed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3-6 drops Hot Sauce, Optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium high.

  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, melt butter, parsley, garlic and lemon juice together. Season with salt and pepper and optional hot sauce if using.

    Classic Garlic Butter With Parsley, Lemon And A Touch Of Hot Sauce
  3. Organize your prawns, garlic butter, basting brush and a plate to put cooked prawns on beside the grill. Place prawns on the grill then baste with garlic butter and close lid for 1 minute. Open and flip prawns and baste again then close lid for 1 more minute.

    Open lid and check prawns, removing any that are opaque through and let remaining cook until just opaque. Depending on the heat of your grill, this shouldn't take longer than 5 minutes. Once all prawns are on plate, drizzle remaining butter mixture over and serve immediately.

    Simple Grilled Peel And Eat Prawns (Shrimp) With Garlic Lemon And Parsley Butter
Wild Sustainable Spot Prawns In Tomato Orange And Fennel Broth
Wild Sustainable Spot Prawns In Tomato Orange And Fennel Broth
Fishing And Cooking Oceanwise BC Spot Prawns
Fishing And Cooking Oceanwise BC Spot Prawns
Oceanwise Spot Prawns In Tomato Orange Fennel Broth
Oceanwise Spot Prawns In Tomato Orange Fennel Broth



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14 thoughts on “Wild West Coast Prawns In Tomato Fennel Broth And Grilled”


  • DAMN, girl!! this post is making me drool in the worst way…Spot Prawn season is one of the most wonderful times of the year…I sure wish they were more accessible here in Calgary. I’d make this recipe in a heartbeat!

    • Thanks Bernice! Yes, they are so delicious, sorry they’re not so accessible where you are but hopefully over time they’ll arrive there more often as people focus on supporting Canadian food products 🇨🇦 but of course frozen at sea prawns work beautifully too 🦐


  • I had no idea you used to commercial fish! I can only imagine some of the beautiful scenery you were able to enjoy as you worked. Those prawns look so perfect for grilling, and the broth sounds so flavourful. The perfect pairing for sure!


  • My husband absolutely loves this – he says there’s nothing as good as fresh prawns that are grilled and hot.

    • Thanks Melanie! I miss getting them straight off the boat but have a local fishmonger here that’s right on the dock so it’s the next best thing. Enjoy the season 🦐💛🦐

  • I love fresh prawns and grilling or cooking them with garlic and herb butter gives them a unique flavour and makes them so delicious. Nothing like fresh prawns. Yumm!


  • OH you are sooo very lucky to get such fresh prawns! I love prawns dearly, but am unfortunately, land-locked! I guess I’ll be trying these recipes with frozen, although I know they’ll still be incredible!

    • Thanks for your comment Terri. So sorry there aren’t fresh ones where you are but frozen will work great anyway. Enjoy 🙂

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