Seafood expert shows how to pick the perfect prawns this Christmas – and the one type you need if you want to ‘pack in the flavour’
- A seafood expert has revealed how to pick out the perfect prawns for Christmas
- Alex Stollznow is a tour guide and resident expert at the Sydney Fish Market
- He shared information and cooking tips for school, king, and tiger prawns
- For example, look for brightly coloured, firm, intact, and lustrous shells
A seafood expert has revealed his foolproof methods for picking out the perfect prawns ahead of Christmas season.
Alex Stollznow, tour guide at Sydney Fish Market and their resident seafood expert, imparted information about the most common prawn varieties and shared some tips on how to choose the perfect prawn in your price range.
He went through the basics of school, king, and tiger prawns.
‘It’s coming up to Christmas which means it’s the peak time in Australia to buy and eat prawns,’ he said in a video.
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A seafood expert has revealed his foolproof methods for picking out the perfect prawns ahead of Christmas season
Alex Stollznow, tour guide at Sydney Fish Market and their resident seafood expert, imparted information about the most common prawn varieties and shared some tips on how to choose the perfect prawn in your price range
Alex’s tips were specifically tailored to amateurs who are new to buying and cooking prawns.
‘This is for people who like eating prawns, but get bewildered when it comes to being confronted by the sheer amount of options of cooked, raw, and farmed at the shops,’ he said.
‘Most people just buy prawns and then just hope that it’s nice – but I’ll show you how to pick out the best kind for the occasion.’
School prawns are the cheapest and smallest – they are usually not larger than a pinky finger.
They retail for $14-20 and are the best for buying raw and then deep frying.
‘You can boil them and peel them and eat them like a little cocktail prawn,’ Alex said. ‘Wash them with egg white, potato starch, salt – and then flash fry them for 30 seconds at 200C and you can eat them like pop corn.’
School Prawns are also extremely sweet in flavour.
‘An important rule of thumb to remember is the smaller the prawn, the sweeter the taste,’ revealed the tour guide.
Alex’s tips were specifically tailored to amateurs who are new to buying and cooking prawns
How to pick out prawns for Christmas?
Size: Not much bigger than your pinky finger
Price: $14-20/kg – the cheapest of all prawn varieties
Flavour: deliciously sweet
Good for deep frying whole
Size: Ranges from10-21cm in length
Price: $35-50/kg – they’re Australia’s most popular prawns
Flavour: subtle, buttery, delicate
Good for pastas and light salads
Size: Can grow up to 35cm long
Price: $40-60/kg – you pay for the gorgeous appearance
Flavour: strong, consistent, punchy
Good for pairing with a spicy or sweet dip
Wild king prawns are between 10 and 21cm in length – and the flavour can vary depending on water salinity and feeding.
They retail for $35-50/kg and are Australia’s most popular prawns.
‘Green King Prawns will often be frozen in advance of Christmas to account for demand, then gently thawed to perfection right before sale,’ said Alex.
‘If you’re buying green, you’ve got about 48-72 hours to enjoy them. Cooked King Prawns are boiled on board the ships they are caught, and thus have a slightly longer shelf life, at 3-5 days.’
Wild king prawns have a subtle, buttery, delicate flavour – which makes them perfect for lighter dishes like salads and pastas.
Farmed tiger prawns have a stronger flavour than wild prawns.
They retail for $40-60/kg – and are the most expensive variety.
‘You have to pay a premium for aesthetics – and even though you can’t taste looks, about $15/kg is for looks alone when it comes to farmed tiger prawns.’
‘They’re ideal for dishes that need to pack in more flavour, such as rice paper rolls,’ Alex revealed.
Bonus prawn-picking tips
- Look for brightly coloured, firm, intact, lustrous shells
- Avoid prawns with discoloration around the head or joints
- Make sure they smell fresh and oceanic
- Look for long feelers that taper off to a delicate point – if they’re handled poorly the feelers go brittle and will snap off closer to the head with stumpy ends
Alex added, ‘Although the money is in the big prawns and you will see them up to 400g – they’re dry, they’re bland, they’re not very special.’
‘The best prawns are medium-sized – no matter the species, medium-sized prawns give you the balance of tenderness and sweetness and juiciness.’
He went on, ‘They’re more accessible as they make up for most of the catch.’