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Hits the Spot

by James O. Fraioli
Photo by Tucker + Hossler Photography
Photo by Tucker + Hossler Photography

By James O. Fraioli / Photo by Tucker + Hossler Photography

If you are one of the lucky ones who trap spot prawns in the Pacific Northwest, hopefully you caught some for this festive summer recipe. Otherwise, you can likely find the prized crustaceans at your local seafood market while supplies last.

Spot Prawn De Gallo, as you might imagine, uses the same ingredients as you’ll find in authentic Pico de Gallo—ripe red tomatoes, crisp onion and jalapeño, fresh cilantro and lime, and salt—but then the sweet, delicate flavor of succulent spot prawns are added, along with olives and avocado, for an elevated salsa-based dip. This recipe is a slight adaptation of Fredda Goldfarb’s, “Awesome Shrimp De Gallo,” featured in Rich Komen’s Five-Star Comfort Food: Inspirational Recipes for the Home Cook, which I had the pleasure of assembling with Rich, the Cinnabon founder who co-owns Roche Harbor Resort.

The key to this recipe is letting it rest. Combine all the ingredients (except the avocado), cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours. The tomatoes will juice up and the flavors will meld. Because the avocado will brown if the dip sits too long, leave out the avocado and add it in just before serving along with fresh, crisp tortilla chips.

Spot Prawn De Gallo

Serves 10 to 12

1¼ tablespoons sea salt, or as needed, divided

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 lemon, halved

1 pound fresh or frozen spot prawns, thawed if using frozen, then peeled, deveined, and tails removed

½ red onion, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)

2 garden tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)

½ cup pitted black olives, chopped

2 jalapeño peppers, deseeded and minced

2 limes, juiced (4 tablespoons), or as needed

2 cups chopped fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed

2 medium avocados, chopped

Tortilla chips, as needed

Fill a large saucepot with water over high heat. Season the water with 1 tablespoon of the salt and add the peppercorns. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon and toss in the lemon peels as well. Stir to combine. When the water comes to a boil, add the spot prawns and boil until they turn pink, about 2 to 2½ minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon, let cool completely, then chop into bite-sized pieces.

Add the chopped spot prawns—along with the onion, tomatoes, olives, and jalapeños—to a large bowl. Gently toss to combine, then add some of the lime juice along with the remaining salt and cilantro. Gently toss again. Add additional lime juice and/or salt to your liking. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove, fold in the avocados, and serve chilled with tortilla chips.

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