This week’s seafood recipe, by executive chef Pat Donahue of Anthony's Restaurant, is sure to please your guests.
The spot shrimp fishery gets underway on May 14 in many areas of Puget Sound and Hood Canal, with thousands of anglers hauling in pots full of these jumbo prawn-sized delicacies. This week’s seafood recipe of the week, by executive chef Pat Donahue of Anthony’s Restaurant, will knock the socks off your guests at the dining table.
This season, esteemed local chefs will share recipes and advice on how to cook a wide variety of local seafood weekly from April through October. This year’s lineup of chefs: Tom Douglas, owner of Lola, Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, among others; executive chef Jason Brzozowy of Maria Hines’ Tilth; chef Taichi Kitamura, owner of Sushi Kappo Tamura; executive chefs and head chefs from El Gaucho; Chef Shota Nakajima, owner of Naka; Jason Wilson, owner of Miller’s Guild; Chef Jun Takai, from Shiro’s Sushi; Taylor Hoang, from Pho Cyclo; Chef Maximillian Petty, from Eden Hill; and Chef Megan Coombes, from Altstadt.
Recipes will be posted every Wednesday and/or Thursday through Nov. 2. Also, if you have a recipe you’d like to reel-in my way, please let me know and I will post them, and will even test it out with my family and friends.
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Here’s Chef Donahue’s take on spot shrimp:
Spot prawns are the largest of the shrimp caught in the Pacific Ocean along the coasts of Alaska and British Columbia, reaching lengths of approximately 12 inches. They should be purchased live with their heads on, preferably right off a boat, as they are extremely perishable.
If you have the opportunity to purchase fresh, head-on spot prawns, it is best to prepare them simply to showcase their wonderful flavor. Freshness is key. The prawns are extremely versatile, known for their sweet taste and firm texture. You can enjoy their natural sweetness by simply cooking the whole prawn in boiling, salted water and serve with melted butter. Or you can enjoy them char-grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper. Once they are cooked, you’ll want to remove the head of the prawn and slurp. Then you can peel back the shell of the tail and savor.
Anthony’s Executive Chef, Pat Donahue, has provided one of his favorite spot-prawn recipes often served at Anthony’s Pier 66: Spot Prawn Marinara. This simple dish highlights the flavor of the prawns while adding in fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes and chopped garlic. For additional garnish, keep the head on one of the spot prawns and serve with the marinara.
Spot Prawn Marinara
1/2 pound spot prawns (tails, with shell and head removed; leave one prawn with head on for garnish, optional)
14 ounces cooked angel hair pasta
4 tablespoons plus 2 ounces unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
5 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
16 ounces marinara sauce (your favorite recipe, or store bought)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
1. Prepare a large skillet over medium heat, add the marinara sauce and heat for about 2 minutes.
2. Add cooked angel hair pasta, sugar, 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil, diced tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss together and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. While marinara mixture is warming, heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add 2 ounces of butter.
4. Once the butter has melted, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
5. Add kosher salt and prawns and cook until prawns are opaque in color, about 2 minutes.
6. Add 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil and mix to heat through, 1 minute.
Whole Spot Prawn (for garnish, optional):
1. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter on low heat, (make sure the prawn is at least half submerged).
2. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side (depending on the size of the prawn). Shells will turn bright red and tail meat will be opaque on the inside.
3. Remove the prawn from the pan and plate onto the marinara dish. Reserve the butter to use as dipping sauce.
Divide the marinara and pasta mixture into two bowls.
Top with prawn mixture and garnish each bowl with remaining 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil leaves and whole spot prawn (optional).
(Yield two servings. Original Anthony’s recipe has been adapted for home preparation.)
A word on spot shrimp season
The Hood Canal (Marine Catch Area 12) spot shrimp fishery will be open May 14, 18, 28 and 30. Fishing is allowed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day.
Discovery Bay (6) will be open May 14, 18, 28 and 30. Fishing is allowed from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
Areas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca (4, 5 and 6) including Discovery Bay and San Juan Island (7 West) will be open daily beginning May 14. Fishing will close when the catch quota is achieved or Sept. 15, whichever comes first.
The San Juan Island region known as “7 South” will be open daily from May 14-31, and “7 East” will be open May 14-15, May 18-21 and May 25-28.
The east side of Whidbey Island (8-1 and 8-2), and northern Puget Sound (9) will be open May 14 and May 18 only. Fishing is allowed from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
Central and south-central Puget Sound (10 and 11) is open May 14 only from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Southern Puget Sound (13) is open May 14, 18, 21 and 31 only with fishing allowed from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
In Marine Catch Areas 4, 5, 6 and 7 (East, South and West) start times will be one hour before sunrise.
The daily limit is 80 spot shrimp per person.
Last year, some areas were very productive with an estimated catch of 181,341 pounds (174,497 in 2014).