Prawns, thanks to their versatility and delicious flavour, are the protagonists of many recipes all over the world. The choice of cooking method depends on personal taste: they can be grilled for a tasty crust, steamed to keep their delicacy intact, or sautéed with herbs and spices to season pasta dishes. Special are the quick baked prawns to prepare and very tasty thanks to this cooking method, which concentrates the taste-olfactory characteristics while retaining juiciness. How to choose the perfect prawns for these recipes? What is the difference between prawns, king prawns and shrimps? How many colours of prawns are there? How to clean prawns so as not to dry out the meat? In this article we take a little trip around the world to find the perfect type of prawns to cook in the oven and thus obtain a succulent dish in a few simple steps.

Prawns or shrimps: which to choose?

To ensure freshness and safety, it is essential to choose high-quality shrimp. Therefore, one should avoid buying shrimp that emit an odour reminiscent of ammonia or have a soft texture and signs of breakage. In addition, the head and body should be carefully examined for black spots: their presence does not necessarily imply that the shrimps have deteriorated, but could indicate inferior freshness. To cook baked prawns which ones to choose? Listed below are some of the most renowned Italian and foreign varieties along with their distinctive characteristics and suggested best cooking methods.

Coloured prawns

Red prawn

The red shrimp is a brightly coloured crustacean that can measure up to 22 cm, but can be found in various sizes. The meat is white and have a sweet taste. It lives in muddy bottoms and is found in almost all oceans, in the Mediterranean Sea and also in Australia and New Zealand. The Italian pride is definitely the red prawn from Mazara del Vallo with a flesh characterised by a unique sweetness and creaminess. Another prized red shrimp comes from the Spanish coast and is the famous shrimp Carabineros. Its meat is soft, sweet and very appetising. To enjoy red shrimp at its best, it is best eaten raw in its natural state or cut into cubes and served in a tartare seasoned with salt bloom, grated lemon peel and a high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

Purple prawn

Purple shrimp can be distinguished from red shrimp by its more magenta-like colour due to its purplish or bluish hues. The flesh has physical characteristics similar to those of the red shrimp and is also preferable eaten raw. Famous is the Gallipoli purple prawnan excellence of the Apulia region.

Pink prawn

This is the most common of crustaceans, is found in all parts of the Mediterranean Sea and has a pink colour with orange hues. It is excellent raw and also fried whole as the carapace becomes tender, crispy and very tasty.

Grey shrimp

The grey shrimp is one of the most common in the world and has blackish spots. With a very delicate taste, it is a versatile product and is mainly used for the preparation of stews in first and second courses.

Blue prawn

The blue shrimp lives in New Caledonia (Oceania) and is a very special species. One of its distinguishing features is its flesh, fine and firm, comparable to that of lobster. Once shelled, they can be eaten raw whole or in tartare.

Tiger prawns, prawns or shrimps?

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to crustaceans, and already the way we are setting out the types in this article is a considerable simplification, but the aim here is simply to be helpful in choosing the right product to cook.

Penaeus shrimps

Shrimps are often confused with prawns - or king prawns - due to their very similar appearance, but their flesh is generally almost transparent and more consistent. In fact, there are also some differences in appearance: their bodies are generally larger than prawns (but smaller than tiger prawns) and straighter, less curved, and the carapace is light grey with brown stripes on the back and reddish stripes on the abdomen. The flavour is delicate with a marked tendency towards sweetness. They lend themselves to being cooked in all kinds of ways and are exceptional when used to prepare the baked prawns.

Tiger prawn

The Indo-Pacific jumbo shrimp - commonly called tiger shrimp - most frequently found in fish shops comes from farms in South-East Asia and weighs up to 130 g and is over 35 cm long. It has a more or less dark brown carapace and light pink and darker brown stripes. Delicious in tartare, it is exceptional when used whole in the oven for the first recipe proposed in this article.

Prawns

In the fish market, 'prawns' means a bit of everything as it often does not refer to a specific type. The largest prawns come from Argentina, Ecuador (pictured), India, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, and those from South America are more valuable than those from South-East Asia. In particular, Argentinian prawns are tasty, not overpriced and readily available. They are often frozen whole or headless by ship.

Ecuador prawns

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Quick Baked Prawns: 1st recipe

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20 minutes

10 minutes

Easy

Oven

Italian

Ingredients for 2 persons

  • 10 Argentine prawns

  • 50 ml of extra virgin olive oil

  • 25 ml lemon juice

  • q.b. chopped parsley

  • fine salt to taste

  • to taste black pepper

Tools

  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 knife
  • 1 juicer
  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 baking tray
  • 1 baking paper
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 hand whisk
  • 1 toothpick
  • 1 kitchen scale

How to make baked prawns

Step 1. Wash and finely chop the parsley.

Quick baked prawns

Step 2. In a bowl, place the oil, lemon juice, two pinches of fine salt, a sprinkling of black pepper and chopped parsley and mix with a hand whisk.

Baked king prawns

Step 3. Clean the prawns by removing the intestines with the help of a toothpick.

Baked king prawns

Step 4. As you clean thenserve them in a bowl. When finished cleaning the prawns, pour half of the seasoning over them and mix with a spatula.

Baked king prawns quick recipe

Step 5. Place the prawns on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in a static oven at 200° C for 10 minutes.

Baked king prawns easy recipe

Step 6. When the time is up, serve sprinkled with the rest of the seasoning.

Quick baked prawns

Quick Baked Prawns: 2nd recipe

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35 minutes

10 minutes

Easy

Oven

Italian

Ingredients for 2 persons

  • 10 Argentine prawns
  • 50 ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 25 ml lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • q.b. chopped parsley
  • fine salt to taste
  • to taste black pepper

Tools

  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 knife
  • 1 juicer
  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 baking tray
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 teaspoon
  • 1 toothpick
  • baking paper

How to make baked prawns au gratin

Step 1. Wash and finely chop the parsley.

Quick baked prawns

Step 2. Remove the head of the prawn, cut it in half lengthwise and remove the intestines with the help of a toothpick.

Quick baked prawns

Step 3. Place them well apart on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Baked king prawns

Step 4. In a small bowl, place 3 generous tablespoons of breadcrumbs, the oil, lemon juice, a sprinkling of black pepper, two pinches of fine salt and mix.

Quick baked prawns

Step 5. Place a mound of the mixture on each prawn and then spread it over the entire surface with a teaspoon.

Baked king prawns

Step 6. Bake in a static oven at 170° C for 10 minutes and once ready, serve piping hot.

Quick baked prawns

Baked king prawns recipe for every occasion

Baked king prawns prove an impeccable choice for any occasion. Their delicacy and succulence, enhanced by the enveloping aroma of baking, give this dish an elegance that is perfectly suited to formal dinners and special celebrations. At the same time, their simplicity and goodness also make them ideal for family dinners. Whether for a party, a gathering of friends or a romantic evening, baked king prawns are the culinary choice that combines taste and versatility, winning the hearts of everyone who tastes them.

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