Hawaiian blue prawn

Other Names: Bouquet or chevrette géante (French); camarão gigane do rio (Portuguese); giant freshwater prawn; giant river prawn; langostino de río (Spanish); Malaysian prawn; onitenagaebi (Japanese); rosenberg-garnele (German). Palaemonidae.

General Description: The Hawaiian blue prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) is one of more than 200 species of freshwater prawns that are important commercially. This fast-growing freshwater shrimp has a bright blue tail, long legs, and even longer antennae and can reach more than 1/4 pound, though farmed shrimp are harvested at about 6 per pound. Live whole prawns sometimes show up at high-end restaurants. Cooking with the head makes for juicier results and more flavor, although the tail is the only edible portion.

Locale and Season: Hawaiian blue prawns are found in the wild in the Indo-Pacific and are farmed in Hawaii, California, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. They are available year-round with peak season in summer.

Characteristics: These freshwater shrimp have a delicate sweet flavor and firm, white flesh.

How to Choose: There is limited availability of live whole fresh prawns; most are sold as frozen tails. If chilled too long with its head on, this shrimp can turn mushy.

Storage: Freshwater shrimp are quite perishable, and will only keep for 1 day, refrigerated. Blanch before storing for
more than 1 day after purchase.


Cook whole by boiling in court bouillon (broth flavored
with onion, celery, thyme, white wine, lemon zest, and black pepper) until opaque, about 4 minutes, or pan-sear, grill, or broil.

Suggested Recipe: Hawaiian Blue Prawns with Tropical Fruit Salsa (serves 4): Combine 1/4 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons pickling spices, 1 cup water, and 1/4 cup rice vinegar and bring to a boil. Cool, strain, and reserve. Combine 3 cups sliced mixed tropical fruits (kiwi, pineapple, mango, papaya, star fruit, and/or banana) with 1/4 cup diced red onion and 2 minced green chiles. Season 3 pounds prawns with salt and pepper. Quickly sear the prawns in a preheated sauté pan in canola oil for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until done. Serve with salsa.

Flavor Affinities: Avocado, banana, chipotle, coconut, green chiles, kiwi, macadamia, mango, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, red onion, rice vinegar, saffron, tamarind, vanilla.

from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com