There are hundreds of species of prawns worldwide, found in marine, brackish estuarine and even fresh waters.
Standard Names: King Prawn, Tiger Prawn, School Prawn, Banana Prawn, Black Tiger Prawn, Endeavour Prawn, Bay Prawn, Royal Red Prawn.
Because their meat is highly perishable, prawns are usually frozen or cooked onboard boats soon after capture. Prawns treated in this manner and defrosted properly can be some of the best available. Raw prawns are sold as ‘Green Prawns’.
PRAWNS are very versatile, being suited to many cooking methods. In all cases though, remember that prawns will continue cooking after being removed from the heat, and so should be cooked only briefly to ensure a sweet, juicy product. Overcooked prawns can be tough and flavourless.
Prawns are excellent steamed, poached, deep fried (esp. school prawns), pan fried, grilled and BBQ'd (esp. larger King and Tiger Prawns). Prawns hold their shape well in soups and curries. Cooked prawns can also be served cold in sandwiches or salads such as the famous 'prawn cocktail'.
'SCHOOL PRAWNS' are small examples of prawns from the Metapenaeus genus, including School Prawns, Endeavour Prawns, and Bay Prawns. Usually fried and eaten whole, sometimes dusted in spices.
Increasingly popular on menus, 'CRYSTAL BAY PRAWNS' are Aquacultured Banana Prawns grown in land based ponds by 'Seafarm' near Innisfail in Northern QLD. They are one of the few prawns available in Australia that haven't been frozen, and are available year round.
Western King Prawns from the Spencer Gulf Prawn Trawl Fishery in SA have been assessed as Sustainable by the Australian Conservation Foundation's 'Sustainable Australian Seafood Assessment Program'. They are also a Marine Stewardship Council accredited sustainable fishery.
Wild Caught Prawns and Imported Farmed Prawns are on Greenpeace Australia Pacific's Seafood Redlist.
Imported farmed Prawns cause destruction of important habitats such as mangroves. Wild-caught prawns are fished using damaging trawling techniques that are responsible for massive bycatch.