Anolon Academy

Fresh Prawns

By Chef Tony Twitchett

Fresh prawns from Australian waters are amazing, clean and sweet flavours.  I have a few tips on what I do with fresh prawns in my restaurant.

First thing I do is peel them carefully. I pinch the head and pull away from the tail until they separate from each other. 

In the head you will find the coral, which must be a bright reddish\orange colour  (if not don’t keep it). I squeeze this into a bowl and save this to make prawn butter.  

Then I remove the legs from the head, these legs fried crisp become a beautiful prawn chip for a snack or a garnish for your prawn dish. 

The rest of the head makes the best oil, by roasting in hot oil until well-cooked. Then adding aromatics and topping up with your best olive oil and leaving to cool down before straining. Use this prawn oil to make a salad dressing or to finish a pasta dish.  

Now you need to peel the shell off the tail, this shell is best to make prawn salt. Wash and dry the shell and mix with your best salt flakes and little lemon zest. Dehydrate for 24hrs and grind into a powder and its ready to use. Store in a sealed container for 1 week. 

Finally remove the vein from the tail and discard to leave a pristine prawn tail.
Once I have my prawn tail I always sprinkle with salt flakes and leave in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.  Then I wash off the salt and pat dry. This cleans your prawns of any impurities, firms up the flesh so when you cook the tail it doesn’t turn to mush and it also highlights the sweet flavour of the shellfish.

If I’m ever dealing with frozen prawns I do everything the same but when I sprinkle with salt I also sprinkle with a little sugar, I do this because frozen prawns always lose their natural sweetness once defrosted.