If you love seafood, hurry over to Vancouver and Vancouver Island. British Columbia’s wild spot prawn season started in May (the one-day Spot Prawn Festival kicked it off on May 11) and continues on for about six to eight weeks, with 65 percent of the annual haul pulled from the water between Vancouver and Vancouver Island harvested in this time. While 90 percent of that is shipped to Asia, the remaining 10 percent finds its way to docked fishing boats in False Creek and Granville Island. That’s right, you can buy fresh off the boat and prepare dishes such as whole spot prawn with garlic parsley butter at home with a little help from renowned chef John Bishop of the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Bishop’s restaurant.
What makes spot prawns so special? For starters, they are succulent, sweet and incredibly easy to prepare — the more simply they are dressed, the better. Spot prawns are also sustainably harvested: Traps and licenses are limited, single daily hauls are enforced and any non-target fish caught in the nets is returned to the ocean.
If you want a taste of spot prawns but aren’t keen on peeling and cooking the crustaceans yourself, many restaurants highlight this catch on their seasonal menus. Hawksworth Restaurant serves them lightly poached with housemade cotechino and potato in shellfish broth, while at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star West restaurant, they are featured in a modern and refreshing dish with charred mackerel, cucumbers, radishes and ponzu gel.
The clock is ticking on spot prawn season, so make your reservations soon.
Photos Courtesy of Sancho Photo, Chefs Table Society of British Columbia, West Vancouver