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The Weekend Chef

Weekend Chef: Grilled Texas Freshwater Prawns

Posted 8:07pm on Monday, Sep. 16, 2013

When I think of fresh shrimp, I normally think of getting them in Galveston or Port Aransas. But in September, fresh shrimp can actually be found just a little north of Fort Worth in Wise County.

I am talking about the September harvest of freshwater prawns (also called freshwater shrimp) on the Bryan Farms in Rhome.

Bryan Farms has three shrimp ponds and harvests one each Saturday in September. The ponds can produce 500 to 1,200 pounds of prawns each, and Bryan Farms sells them right off the bank for $8 per pound.

The first pond was harvested last Saturday (Sept. 14), so you still have two more Saturdays (Sept. 21 and 28) when you can get in on the fresh shrimp action. Activities start at 10 a.m. and last until dusk, rain or shine, although I hear people usually get there at 9. You can find directions and times on their website at www.wcshrimpfarm.com. Oh, and be sure to bring a cooler. So how do they taste? They have a sweet, lobster-like flavor that is perfect for grilling. They contain less iodine and cholesterol than gulf shrimp, and they are huge, some reaching a ¼ pound in size.

Grilled Freshwater Prawns

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh prawns (or large shrimp)
  • 1 cup peanut oil
  • 1 cup fresh chopped herbs (I used parsley, thyme, chives and rosemary from my garden)
  • ½ cup chopped garlic
  • ½ cup fine diced sweet red peppers
  • Salt to taste
  • Wood skewers

Cooking Directions

  1. Soak skewers for 15 minutes in water.
  2. Mix herbs, garlic and peppers in bowl with peanut oil.

  3. Rinse prawns in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. De-vein prawns with shells on by cutting the top of the shells over the tail with a small knife making a shallow slit in the tail meat, then lift out the vain with the tip of the knife.

  4. Skewer prawns tail side first, then coat with herb/oil mixture and let marinade for 15 minutes.

  5. While prawns are marinating, pre-heat grill to high heat. Grill prawns on skewers for around 4 minutes then flip and grill another 4 minutes. Prawns are done when the shells turn from blue/gray to bright orange/red. Lightly salt prawns after grilling (while still in the shell), you’re really just salting your fingertips.

These prawns were extremely tasty, heads and all! Eat the grilled prawns like crawfish, that is, suck the head and eat the tail. They taste more like a lobster than a shrimp, pretty tasty for just $8 a pound!

Be sure to check out the step-by-step pictures in the slideshow above the story.

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