Prawnographic literature…

I love prawns in all their splendid form.The langoustines in France are delectable. Langoustine is the French name for what we call Dublin Bay prawns. And harking back to what I said about my younger days and pub food, scampi is, in fact, the shelled tail meat of these creatures. It actually comes from the Italian word – scampo – or scampi in the plural. Serious langoustine are usually anywhere between 15-25 centimeters in length. They cannot live long out of water so are normally sold cooked, displayed on a bed of ice. They are common in paella, both in France and Spain. I don’t know about you but the whole world of shrimps and prawns used to confuse me enormously. We tend to use the word shrimp in England for the smaller varieties. In the U.S, keeping things simple, they use the word shrimps in most cases. The French often use the word crevette – which comes from Picardy – and is a corruption of the word chevrette, meaning a kid goat, a reference to their bounding movements in the water. The shrimps common to our waters is the fiddly to peel, and quite wee, Common or Brown shrimp. Then there is the more normal size Common prawn, famous for its inclusion in avocado and prawn cocktails etc etc, which reside in the North Atlantic and the Med. The best of this size prawn is the Red or Pink prawn and these can grow up to twice the size. The French call these crevette rouge and you may see them on Italian menus as the gambero rosso. Tiger or King Prawns come from the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific. These are the ones that most people think are the tastiest. And there are so many super recipes for these pesky prawns….going to pop a favourite of mine on the next post..Prawn Pilaf.

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