Spot prawn from Catalina カリフォルニア ボタン海老 

japanese cake
We have not gotten anything from Catalina offshore products for a long time but it is California spot prawn season and we got these prawns along with frozen big eye tuna 中トロメバチマグロ and ankimo あん肝. Spot prawn is more like “botan-ebi” ボタンえび than “ama-ebi’ 甘エビ and tends to be larger. The closest to Japanese ama-ebi is pink shrimp from Alaska and New England. We did get Alaskan pink shrimp a few times for sashimi from a Japanese-run company in Alaska, it came head removed and the freshness was not great. We see pink shrimp from Maine in our grocery store when it is in season but we never see it fresh enough to serve as sashimi. Even boiled, pink shrimp is quite good. In any case, we are not very fond of eating large spot prawn as sashimi. In the past we made ceviche out of it. I chose the smallest 6 and served it as sashimi for the evening we received them. I also served cucumber cups with tobiko トビコ and moromi-miso もろみ味噌.

For this occasion I thawed real wasabi. I also served octopus. This was quite good and we enjoyed it with cold sake.

I served the larger shrimp as tempura. Although these were not the largest ones the head was sill too tough and we had to remove the outer shell before eating. The prawn itself was very good. I served it with perilla tempura with green tea salt.

The next evening, I made a fry from the largest prawns. After the head and shell were removed, I de-veined (actually removed the intestine) from a tiny slit in the back with a tooth pick (actually not much to remove).  I made multiple shallow cuts on the belly side (ventral surface) to prevent it from curling up. As per usual, I  dredged in flower, dipped in egg water and  breaded in panko crumbs. I also deep fried the head. 

The prawn was very succulent and much better than “frozen and thawed” shrimp. I made an instant tartar sauce with store-bought mayo, finely chopped butter pickles with an addition of the pickling liquid.

Although I fried the head long time starting with low temperature and finished with regular 350F, the outer shell was still too hard. We removed it and only ate the center. The larger prawn is much better cooked than raw. We really enjoyed it. I also made broth from the remaining heads and shells which I am going to make some kind of soup.

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