How to Cook Raw Prawns

Updated March 20, 2018

Few differences exist between prawns and shrimp, other than gill structure and shell formation. They taste similar, are used interchangeably and respond to several cooking methods, including sautéing and poaching. Prawns overcook easily, and only a few seconds separate overcooking and ideal cooking. Poaching or sautéing gently cooks the prawns without the high heat of ovens, boiling water or deep fryers.

Slice one medium carrot and one stalk of celery and add to a pot half-filled with water. Add 1 tbsp kosher salt and 1 tbsp white wine vinegar for every quart of water used. Bring to a simmer.

Cook the prawns in the water for approximately 4 minutes. Remove and place in a large mixing bowl.

Toss the prawns with freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.

Mix 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with 2 tsp coarse salt and 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Place the seasoned flour in an even layer on a plate.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp unsalted butter over medium heat until the butter begins to brown. Adding olive oil to the butter raises its smoking point and prevents it from burning.

Dredge the prawns and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the prawns have a golden brown, crisp exterior. Work in batches, only adding enough prawns to fit around the edges of the pan. Adding too many at once creates steam and prevents the prawns from browning. Remove the prawns and reserve.

Sauté two finely minced shallots and two finely minced garlic cloves in the sauté pan with the olive oil and butter. Cook until the shallots and garlic soften, approximately 1 minute.

Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and the juice from one fresh lemon to the pan, stir and reduce for 1 minute. Coat the prawns in the pan sauce, season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and garnish with chopped fresh parsley and dill.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • White wine vinegar
  • Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 finely minced shallots
  • 2 finely minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Fresh dill, chopped
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About the Author

A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.