Mary Tutwiler

If you can't beat' em, eat' em

by Mary Tutwiler

The last time the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries asked state residents to help eradicate an invasive species by putting nutria rats on the barbie, locals turned up their noses. This time they may not have so much trouble. The Houma Courier reports that giant tiger prawns, native to the western Pacific where they are widely farmed, are turning up in Louisiana shrimping grounds from Venice to Vermilion Bay.

The humongous shrimp potentially carry disease pathogens and various forms of bacterial, fungal, and viral infections, which could threaten Louisiana’s white and brown shrimp populations. Introduced into south Louisiana for aquaculture purposes, the prawns escaped from shrimp farms into local waters; evidence, shrimpers say, against the Obama administration’s plan for fish farms in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the bright side, tiger prawns are a tasty crustacean. So if they do turn up in your nets, after you report them to Wildlife and Fisheries, here’s what to do:

Broiled Lemon and Garlic Tiger Prawns
     1 1/2 pounds tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
     1 cup butter
     1 teaspoon minced garlic
     1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
     3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven on broiler setting. With a sharp knife, remove tails from prawns, and butterfly them from the underside. Arrange prawns on broiler pan. In a small saucepan, melt butter with garlic and lemon juice. Pour 1/4 cup butter mixture in a small bowl, and brush onto prawns. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over shrimp. Place broiler pan on top rack, and broil prawns for 4 to 5 minutes, or until done. Serve with remaining butter mixture for dipping.