Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre’s pop-up café returns just in time for the highly anticipated B.C. spot prawn season. On Friday, May 12, Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Executive Chef Ned Bell and The Fish Counter’s Chef Rob Clark will join forces for a new culinary event to kick off the annual Spot Prawn Festival. The Spot Prawn Pop-Up dinner is a five-course collaboration featuring the popular, delectable, and Ocean Wise recommended shellfish. For one evening only, the Aquarium Café will be transformed into a bustling bistro featuring two of Vancouver’s hottest chefs.
You can celebrate spot prawn season at the Spot Prawn Pop-Up, the Spot Prawn Festival, or at home. Chef Ned Bell shares his Chilled B.C. Spot Prawn Salad recipe with us:
16-24 Ocean Wise spot prawns (4-6 per person)
2.5 pints of Windset Farms heirloom tomatoes
2 heads of butter lettuce
3-4 tbsp goat cheese or ricotta (optional)
2 tbsp + 1 cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
For the Spot Prawns:
Poach the spot prawns, taking extra care not to overcook. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a simmer, add the spot prawns, count 15 seconds, and remove immediately, placing prawns in a bowl of ice water. Once chilled, peel the prawns and remove the head. You can also leave the shell and head on, depending on your guests’ preference.
For the Heirloom Tomato Vinaigrette:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Toss two pints of heirloom tomatoes in 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of sea salt.
On a lined baking tray, roast the heirloom tomatoes in the oven for 20 minutes.
In a food processor, puree the roasted tomatoes with 1 cup of olive oil, ½ cup red wine vinegar, and 1 tbsp Dijon mustard.
Chop the remaining tomatoes in half and set aside.
Start by building the lettuce onto a platter. Add chopped heirloom tomatoes and the chilled Ocean Wise spot prawns. Spoon on the dressing and, if you want, add 3-4 tbsp of crumbled goat cheese or ricotta. Season with salt to taste.
In 2006, it was Organic Ocean’s Steve Johansen, along with Chef Clark, Ocean Wise, and other members of the Chefs’ Table Society that helped create a groundswell of support for the local spot prawn fishery. Prior to that, almost all spot prawns caught off the coast of B.C. were shipped directly to Asia where they are revered for their sweetness and delicate texture. With local promotion of the spot prawn season, this group of sustainability champions helped generate a wave and launch the annual Spot Prawn Festival.
The majority of spot prawns are now enjoyed in B.C. and the rest of Canada, making this local, ocean-friendly seafood choice a delicious seasonal ingredient, and helping to reduce the pressure placed on other unsustainable prawn fisheries.
Overfishing is the single biggest threat our oceans face today. With more than 675 partners across Canada, Ocean Wise makes it easy for consumers to make sustainable seafood choices that ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come. The Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item is the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. www.oceanwise.ca