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How To Buy & Prep Fresh Prawns For Cocktail Appetisers Like A Pro

The Ultimate Guide To Buying And Preparing Fresh Prawns For Cocktail Appetisers

Prawns are a thoroughly sweet and indulgent crustacean which can be cooked easily and infused with a lot of different flavours to make them absolutely tasty. From prawns cooked in a butter garlic sauce to marinated grilled tiger prawns or deep fried prawn tempura, several lip smacking appetisers can be made using this crustacean to introduce vibrant flavours into your cocktail evening. A good old fashioned shrimp cocktail is a sought after treat too and involves tucking a prawn to the side of a cocktail glass filled with a boozy concoction.

When you are planning the menu for a cocktail evening you host at home, you might want to add prawn appetisers to it because of this heightened flavour component and the ability of the crustacean to cook quickly. But before you start preparing the dish, you will have to first buy and devein a fresh stock of prawns that can be marinated and tossed lightly on a pan. However, sourcing and cleaning prawns can be a tricky business and requires close attention to ensure that the poo chute or the digestive vein is properly removed from the body of the crustacean.

Best Season And Variety To Buy

While frozen prawns are available all year round, you might want to go for the fresher catch when you are home hosting because it would definitely pack more flavour than a previously salted and freezed version.

The Ultimate Guide To Buying And Preparing Fresh Prawns For Cocktail Appetisers

When you head out to buy prawns, first decide upon the type you want. Regular pink prawns or rock shrimp are used widely to make different appetisers like lemon butter prawns or tempura so you might want to buy at least half a kilo when you are entertaining a big group. Alternatively, go for tiger prawns or king prawns if you plan to grill or skewer the crustacean. Tiger prawns can be a bit heavier on the pocket so make sure you buy them only when you are entertaining your most intimate friends!

Many varieties of prawns are available through varied seasons but experts would generally advocate avoiding seafood during monsoons. This is the breeding season for fish and you would risk losing out on fresh catch in the subsequent months if you end up looking for fish at this time.

Deveining Prawns

The next step is cleaning the prawns. This is a very laborious process so you can either get a few helping hands or start way ahead of time to make sure you have ample of energy and enthusiasm left to cook the crustacean before your party.

For cleaning the prawns, first remove the head by holding it in one hand and grasping the head with the other before twisting and separating it from the body. You can keep the heads in a separate bowl to prepare stock. Next, you can peel the shell starting from the underside of the shrimp, pulling it away from the flesh, gradually moving towards the tail.

The Ultimate Guide To Buying And Preparing Fresh Prawns For Cocktail Appetisers

The most crucial step is deveining which involves locating the brown coloured digestive track, essentially a dark line running along the back of the prawn. Use a sharp knife to make a tiny incision and then pull out this line in its entirety, off the flesh. Once this process is complete put the shrimp into a large bowl filled with salt water so you can clean it before the actual cooking begins.

Marinating The Crustacean

Many culinary experts prefer to marinate the shrimp in several spices before shallow frying or deep frying it as an appetiser. Others use a simple rub of lime and salt to give flavour to the crustacean. You can prepare a marinade and coat the prawns in it a day before your party and freeze them in the refrigerator so the flavours seep deep into the shrimp.

Remember, marinating has to be done only after you have perfectly cleaned the shrimp to avoid the risk of serving a crustacean with a piece of shell stuck on it. Pay keen attention while cleaning and then examine the shrimp once again when you are done to ensure that your prawns are all cleanly prepped and ready to be transformed into delicious appetisers for your cocktail night.


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