To me, prawns always look best unpeeled; that beautiful, red, shining shell is most attractive. (You can always rub them with oil to make them look even better if you have the time.) But, alas, you are not having a prawn night, so you will have to peel them, I'm afraid. If you are like me and just love prawns, get somebody else who is allergic to eating them to do the peeling. Otherwise, the temptation may be so overpowering that you will have to cross prawns off the menu! Shell the prawns, leaving the tails on to hold them by. Make sure the prawns are deveined and cleaned properly. Arrange them on platters around bowls containing dips, close together and all facing the one way, with parsley galore. Have finger bowls and serviettes nearby. Another way with whole prawns is to spread a cracker biscuit with mayonnaise, top with a prawn, then glaze with gelatine.
As soon as prawns are mentioned, so is that old Australian saying "Don't come the raw prawn". So 1 certainly won't. These are all "yummy" recipes, and if you are using cooked prawns 1 think you had better have twice the quantity you need for your recipe unless you can find someone who is allergic to eating them to peel them for you. I'm a hopeless case myself-one for the pot and one for my mouth! When you do come the "raw prawn", that's a different matter-1 mean the "green", uncooked prawn, with which so many dishes are made. They're harder to shell and devein, but they give delicious results.
How many of you have been prawning? Whenever it was or will be, it is one of the happiest times of your life. A great spot in New South Wales for prawning is Tuggerah Lakes, not so far from Sydney. I just love that place. To me it means Christmas time and the school holidays, sharing houses, work done in a jiffy, Mums, Dads and the kids fishing, strolling, surfing, calm ankle-depth water for the littlies, and the smell of hot fish and chips everywhere. And prawns - no Lakes holiday is complete without that magic word. What's a mosquito or two on those hot, dark nights in the stillness of the lake when the prawns are running? And then home, all talking at once, with wet clothes, shivering too, happiness everywhere, big pots of boiling water ready for the night's catch, television forgotten, and the art of conversation returned fora little while.
Freshly caught prawns-a feast!
Fish selectionAtlantic Salmon
Shellfish selectionBalmain bugs