Spring is finally here! And that means spot prawn season. For Vancouver foodies there’s no greater time of year than the scant six to eight weeks when B.C.’s bountiful crop of Pandalus platyceros are at their height. Succulent, sweet and sustainable, these little guys are the ultimate eco-friendly catch. You can cross over to the Granville Island docks and, for $12 a pound, steam or boil your own at home, but part of the fun of spot prawn season is seeing what the pros can do with them. Get your fill while the getting is good with these best bets from the city’s top chefs.
Chef Eric Pless goes South Asian by frying spot prawns with crispy enoki and serving them with a Meyer lemon aioli and a yuzu cocktail sauce as an appetizer ($14) or grilling those bad boys with lemongrass and serving on a bed of sesame black rice with a coconut cream. ($36). 1054 Alberni St., 604-685-5010
Simplicity is key for Chef Paul Marshall who sautées his signature spot prawn entrée with garlic, chilies, lemon juice and arugula, finishing the whole thing off with a drizzle of olive oil and a touch of butter. ($25). 350 Davie St., 604-642-0557
Provence Mediterranean Grill
The secret to husband-and-wife culinary couple Jean-Francis and Alessandra Quaglia is separate kitchens. However, both chefs are offering a $48 three-course spot prawn menu at their respective restos. At the Point Grey location, Mme. Quaglia is serving up dishes like spot prawn salad, steamed spot prawns and a special surf ‘n turf featuring AAA beef tenderloin. For his part, Monsieur Quaglia is featuring poached spot prawns with yellow tomato gazpacho and Lois Lake steelhead trout with spot prawns in Yaletown. 4473 W. 10th Ave., 604-222-1980 and Marinaside: 1177 Marinaside Crescent, 604-681-4144
HOUSE x GUEST
As the chef at one of the city’s favourite cocktail spots, chef Kayla Dhaliwall had to come up with a finger-food for the celebrated crustacean and concocted a spot prawn cevice with cara cara orange for smoothness and chili for a touch of heat. The mixture marinates overnight and is served canapé-style on seaweed rice crackers. $16 as of May 23. 332 Water St., no phone
In celebration of his bistro’s one-year anniversary, Executive Chef Marc-André Choquette is pulling out all the spots, er, stops this weekend with a limited-time spot prawn sampler platter featuring a fried spot prawn corn dog with smoked paprika aioli, prawn head bisque served cappucino style, whole poached spot prawn with lemon, spot prawn slider in a baked cheddar gougère and a tartare of spot prawns. $25, May 17 – 20. 1181 Melville St., 604-639-8692
The city’s leader in ethical seafood and the driving force behind the Ocean Wise sustainable seafood program, C Restaurant was bound to celebrate the spot prawn season in a big way. Chef de cuisine Lee Humphries’ five-course menu features a spot prawn bisque with citrus dust, 120-minute egg with poached spot prawns and tomato horseradish, spot prawns with bacon lime tortellini and peel-and-eat prawns with preserved lemon and brown butter. $70. 1600 Howe St., 604-681-1164
Image courtesy of House x Guest.