Carabineros – Jumbo Prawns from Spain
ONE OF THE MOST COVETED PRAWNS IN KITCHENS WORLDWIDE, beautiful Carabineros are a large deep-sea prawn species that hail from Eastern Atlantic into the Mediterranean Sea. Known by a plethora of names – to the Spanish and Portuguese as “Carabineros”, to the English as “Scarlet Shrimp” or “Cardinal Prawns”, and to the French as the “Crevette Imperiale”, they are renowned for their jumbo size and striking bright red color.
Given their name by the Spanish – Carabineros translates as “police” – reputedly because the color of their shells matched the uniforms of Spanish customs police, their distinct red color does not change when cooked (as does a lobster shell from blue to red when boiled.) More distinct and robust in flavor than other shrimps or langoustine, they are also coveted for their large size. While their meat resides in the tail, their encephalopathy (head and body) are not to be overlooked, and are excellent for making clear and creamed soups and sauces to which it adds flavor and red color. None of this prawn should go to waste, and some Europeans consider the flavor of their heads as a “delicacy”.
Traditionally prepared in Spain and Portugal as simply salted and grilled, some suggest that they should be treated as a delicate small lobster versus a simple shrimp. Regardless, they can be poached, sautéed, steamed and are excellent in paellas, robust stews, etc. – and many chefs value the “plate appeal” of their color and size when served whole.
Our Carabineros are caught off the coasts of Spain. Whole and head on, they are individually quick frozen and packaged in 2.2 pound boxes. They are “Jumbo”: approximately 5-7 prawns per Pound.