Just like produce, seafood also has its seasons. For the Santa Barbara spot prawn, its season begins now (early spring), so if you’re looking for something delicious, seasonal, and local (to Southern California), keep your eyes peeled. Its flesh tastes sweet as candy and it’s easy to cook. Availability can be somewhat sporadic, so I was happy to find them at Santa Monica Seafood for our Valentine’s Day feast (B and I like to plan/cook together that day as opposed to dining out). We also picked up a few lobster tails and Mexican white shrimp for ultra decadence.
I shared a photo of the Grilled Spot Prawns with Pea Shoots, Cara Cara and Burnt Citrus Vinaigrette on Instagram over the weekend, and wanted to follow-up with the recipe here on the blog. There should be one big, fat note/disclaimer on the dressing though. The burnt citrus vinaigrette sounds fancy, but it was born out of necessity; I had a leftover brûléed grapefruit from breakfast, so that’s what I used for the acid. All that is to say, you can just use grapefruit or any type of citrus juice instead of torched grapefruit. Say Meyer lemons or cara cara or here’s a citrus collage to give you more ideas.
1/2 ruby red grapefruit
1 tbsp sugar
1/3 c olive oil
1 tsp shallot, finely chopped
1 cara cara, supremes and zest
4 spot prawns (about 1/2 lb)
1 cup peas shoots, leaves and tendrils
salt and pepper, to taste
Edible flowers (optional, but this really makes it special)
1. For the vinaigrette, dip the flesh of the grapefruit into the sugar and brûlée with a blowtorch or under the broiler until charred. Allow to cool slightly before juicing. In a mason jar, mix together 1/4 cup of the grapefruit juice, olive oil, shallot, cara cara zest, and salt and pepper.
2. Butterfly the spot prawns. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette on the prawns, making sure to get some underneath the shell. Season with salt and pepper. Marinate at room temperature while you preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Grill each prawn for about 2-2.5 minutes on each side.
3. Dress the pea shoots with the remaining vinaigrette.
4. This recipe makes enough for 2 appetizer-sized portions, which is about 2 prawns per person. For each plate, create a bed out of the pea shoots. Place 2 prawns on top and garnish with cara cara supremes and edible flowers. I used a mix of borage and broccoli flowers from Coleman Farm’s.
serves 2 appetizer-sized portions