How to Cook Large Prawns

shrimp grilled on wooden skewers with lemon and basil

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Prawns, though similar to shrimp, are different in their physical structure; however, for cooking purposes, prawns are simply larger than shrimp. There are multiple ways to cook large prawns, though the most common are boiling and sautéing. Prawns can be served with a multitude of side dishes, including green vegetables, potato dishes and rice recipes, and pair well with sauvignon blanc, Pinot Noir and Champagne, as well as many crisp, light beers.


Place the prawns in a colander and rinse them with cold water.

Pat the prawns dry with clean paper towels, discarding the towels as you go.

Remove the shells of the prawns with your fingers, starting at the head section and gently pulling downward, leaving the tail intact. Discard the shells or save them for soup stock.

Carefully remove the black line or intestinal tract from the back of each prawn with a sharp paring knife. Discard the intestinal tracts.

Rinse the prawns once more under cold running water and pat them dry with paper towels.

Boiled Prawns

Fill a large saucepan halfway with cold water and add 2 tbsp. sea salt or kosher salt.

Cover the pot and bring the liquid to a rolling boil over high heat.

Add the prawns to the pot and allow them to boil for two to three minutes over high heat or until they turn a bright orange-red color.

Transfer the prawns to a large serving bowl filled with ice water. This will stop the cooking process, preventing the prawns from becoming tough and chewy.

Pat the prawns dry before serving them.

Sautéed Prawns

Add 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil to a large sauté pan and heat the oil over high heat until it is hot but not smoking.

Add the prawns and cook them over high heat for two to three minutes or until they are a bright orange-red color.

Transfer the prawns to a large serving platter and season them with sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Garnish the prawns with fresh flat-leaf parsley and lemon wedges, and serve them with melted butter if desired.

Broiled Prawns

Preheat the broiler.

Brush the prawns with melted unsalted butter and season them with sea salt or kosher salt to taste.

Place the prawns in a broiler pan or baking dish and cook them in the preheated oven for six minutes.

Transfer the prawns to a serving platter and serve the prawns while hot.