Prawning at Stuart Island

We awoke to a cool, overcast but windless morning. Breakfast was a fresh morel mushroom frittata with potatoes along with some really awesome freshly ground Guatemala coffee from Walla Walla Roasters.

After a nice walk, it was time to get serious about getting the shrimping gear ready to go. The afternoon tide was favorable for about 45 minutes and Wally had scoped out a potential spot to drop the shrimp pot in New Channel near Stuart Island at a depth of about about 350 feet.

The afternoon was damp and drizzly so I felt obliqiged to give up my seat on the Whaler to a new friend Brian from our our marina that we ran into at Prevost Harbor. He was excited to get out and try some shrimping so who was I to rain on his parade.

You might have figured out that I love to cook and was plotting paella for dinner before the prawns were ever in the trap. The fingers crossed trick worked and before I knew it they were back with enough Spot Prawns for a paella and at least another meal. WOO-HOO!!!

 

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These beauties are the actual spot prawns minus their heads.

 

It’s important to remove the heads as soon as possible.  Almost immediately after death, an enzyme in the prawn’s head is released through the body causing the flesh to soften.  Removing the head is quite easy, but it may make some people squirm.

 

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And this my friends is the heads…

 

You may wonder why I get so excited about the heads??? Well, this is what makes the incredible broth that is the backbone of the paella. The recipe is so simple…

Take the prawn heads, a couple of bay leaves and a sprinkle of Old Bay if you got it, cover it all in water and simmer until you get tired of the whole mess. I strain the broth through a seive and some coffee filters, return the heads to the sea and VOILA… you are left with the perfect broth for paella, soup, risotto or perhaps shrimp and grits. Sky is the limit or your imagination.

Paella takes a bit of time so we feasted on some great cheese and wine, BS”ed with our friend Brian and eventually chowed down on Spot Prawn Paella with Olympia Provision Chorizo and Smoked Mussels along with a Arugula Salad.

The afternoon drizzle broke into a beautiful San Juan evening …. Not sure it gets much better!

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WOOHOO…..

FINALLY, the BeachHouse is off the dock and underway. It is so good to be back on the water and bonus points for such a absolutely beautiful afternoon! The water is like a pond… nice way to start off!

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Stuart Island here we come!