A favourite for summer get-togethers, prawns make an easy starter or main. Simple to prepare, they're delicious, and good for you too, packed with protein, iron, zinc and vitamin E.
TIGER PRAWNS There are a number of different types – green, black, blue, giant, panda, brown and Japanese. Some are farmed, others are wild. They have distinctive grey, blue or black stripes. Their medium-sweet, firm moist flesh holds together well and is particularly good grilled. Available year-round.
KING PRAWNS “King” refers to the species and can be large, medium or small. Uncooked shells are lightly pink with a blue iridescence on the tail. When cooked, the texture is robust and the flavour is rich. King prawns are good in full-flavoured dishes like paella, stir-fries and curries and also perfect grilled.
Mainly wild-caught, king prawns peak from February to June.
SCHOOL PRAWNS They have a sweet flesh and a short storage life. Tiny school prawns are generally cooked and eaten whole, shell and all (although many prefer to remove the heads). They are best suited to deep-frying, stir-frying or steaming and are available year-round, with peak season over summer.
SCAMPI Also called Dublin Bay prawns, these are actually part of the lobster family and taste more like lobster than prawn. A luxury wild-caught seafood, their delicate and sweet meat requires careful cooking or it becomes mushy. The meat is all in the tail and the yield is low.
YABBIES Yabbies inhabit streams and dams and are a species of freshwater crayfish. The meat is mainly in the tail and yields 25 per cent of the total weight. Yabbies are sweet in flavour and are excellent steamed, grilled or panfried. You can buy them live or cooked.
BANANA PRAWNS A medium-sized prawn with mildly sweet, moist and tender flesh. With a thin pale yellowish shell, this prawn is both farmed and wild-caught. Available year-round, with peak supply April to May, the banana prawn’s delicate flavour makes it ideal for lighter-flavoured dishes.
BLACK TIGER PRAWNS See Tiger prawns.
COOKED KING PRAWNS See King prawns.