Ask the ex­perts: buy­ing, stor­ing and cook­ing prawns

Fran Ab­dal­laoui and Pamela Clark share their tips for buy­ing, pre­par­ing and cook­ing prawns this Christmas.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Contents -


Of all the in­gre­di­ents, seafood is the most per­ish­able, so plan your shop­ping well.

Pre-order ev­ery­thing and ar­range to pick it up on Christmas Eve, or at the ear­li­est, two days prior.

On the day of pur­chase, take a chiller bag, then aim to have your seafood un­der proper re­frig­er­a­tion as soon as pos­si­ble.

Look for un­cooked prawns that are free of dis­coloura­tion; re­ject any that are show­ing signs of black­ness.


Once home, place prawns on a plate or tray, or in a lid­ded con­tainer. Cover with a damp cloth, then plas­tic wrap or a lid. Place in cold­est part of the fridge; usu­ally the bot­tom shelf. Eat within two days.


For un­cooked prawns, half-fill a con­tainer with prawns, then fill with wa­ter and put the con­tainer in the freezer, with a la­bel and the date – the ice block will in­su­late the prawns. Prawns are best frozen in a con­tainer, rather than a plas­tic freezer bag as they are sharp. Only freeze prawns if you are sure they have not been frozen be­fore and you can guar­an­tee their fresh­ness. Freeze for up to two months.

How much to buy?

How many prawns to serve is de­pen­dent on what else you are serv­ing, the time of day and even the weather. Al­low about 300g-400g of prawns per per­son for a main course, as you will lose at least half the weight in shells.

Per­fect bar­be­cue prawns

SERVES 4 You will need 1.2kg un­cooked medium prawns or 1.5kg large king prawns.

1 If us­ing medium prawns, shell and de­vein the prawns leav­ing the tails in­tact (see Pre­par­ing prawns, right). If us­ing large prawns, but­ter­fly by cut­ting through the body just af­ter the head, stop­ping just be­fore the tail; re­move the vein.

2 Toss the peeled prawns with a lit­tle ex­tra vir­gin olive oil, or brush but­ter­flied prawns with oil; sea­son. Heat a char­grill pan or bar­be­cue to high; cook the prawns, in batches, for 1 minute on each side or un­til cooked through. The flesh will change from translu­cent to opaque.

Cook the but­ter­flied prawns in the same man­ner, flesh-side down first. Serve the prawns with lemon cheeks, your favourite sauce or try our Horse­rad­ish Cock­tail Sauce (recipe be­low).

Horse­rad­ish cock­tail sauce

Com­bine ⅓ cup tomato sauce, 1 ta­ble­spoon horse­rad­ish cream, 2 ta­ble­spoons lemon juice, 3 tea­spoons Worces­ter­shire sauce and ⅓ cup pour­ing cream in a small bowl. Sea­son with freshly ground black pep­per.

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