Twist on a Favorite: New Orleans Style BBQ w/ California Ridgeback Prawns

California Ridgeback Prawns X The Big Easy

First published in Food + Home Magazine, 2022. 

It may sound funny, but one of the reasons I love seafood is that it tastes like other seafood; it makes life easier when your favorite fish is out of season or if you’re craving a taste from another part of the country. 

The California ridgeback prawn is a yummy option because it resembles shrimp but has the texture and taste of a sweet and decadent crawfish. You can saute them in butter to eat right out of the pan or steam them for a few minutes for a peel-’n-eat meal, which is how my husband and I prepared this batch (pictured) in our tiny Airstream kitchen a few years ago.

Boiled California spot prawns in a bowl

However, you can give a Creole twist with just a few extra ingredients. (Warning: you must love butter. Like, a sh*t ton of it.)

The California ridgeback prawn season runs from October until the end of may May, and you can find commercial fishermen selling fresh ridgeback and spot prawns at the Ventura Farmers Market every Saturday until spring. 

Pro Tip: Buy from your local fishermen and seafood markets for the highest quality catch. Happy seafood eating and, as they say in New Orleans, Laissez le bon temps rouler – Let the good times roll!

New Orleans BBQ Shrimp photo by the Food Channel
New Orleans BBQ Shrimp. Photo via the Food Channel.

New Orleans-Inspired BBQ California Ridgeback Prawns*
(*Original recipe is called New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp.)

Toss peeled and deveined prawns with paprika, ancho chili powder, cumin, salt, and a pinch of sugar.

Melt about five tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet on low to medium heat, then add minced garlic.

Continue until the prawns are almost done, then add a squeeze of lemon, dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and a splash of water.

When seasoned to taste, serve over mounds of fluffy rice and top with thinly sliced green onions.

Or, serve with crunchy bread to soak up the savory juices. Accompany with a butter lettuce salad lightly tossed with olive oil, dijon, avocado, and lemon to brighten the palette.

New Orleans BBQ Shrimp by Southern Bytes
New Orleans BBQ Shrimp by Southern Bytes Blog.

Have you tried this recipe before? How do you like to prepare prawns and shrimp? Please share in the comments below!

If you liked this, you’d love How To Make the Easiest Seafood Stock Ever.

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