The Palamós Red Prawn is without a doubt the star food product of Palamós and the Baix Empordà and the great ambassador at international level. A pleasure for the palate that is present in our gastronomy. But what do you know about this crustacean that we all worship at our table?
What does a Palamós Prawn look like?
It is an arthropod, like spiders. Their marine relatives include crabs, lobsters, lobsters and crayfish. Contrary to popular belief, shrimps do not have heads. They have a cephalothorax, a head and a thorax all together. It's a decapod, but it doesn't have exactly 10 legs. It has 10 appendages that come out of the cephalothorax, but only six become legs; the first four are pincers that they use to eat.
The shrimp swims and does not walk; he doesn't swim with his legs, but with these paddles on his abdomen, the pleopods, literally "full feet."
Like all crustaceans, it does not have bones, it has an exoskeleton and has to change it from time to time. This justifies the fact that we can find shrimp with soft shells: they are molting. if what is soft is the meat, it is not moulting: it has passed.
What is surprising are the antennae: it has four, but two of them are very long, more than twice the length of its entire body. All four have chemical sensors, they are their sense of smell. It uses the small antennae to smell the food and the long ones to locate itself in the environment, because it lives a long time in the dark.
How did you discover the Shrimp of Palamós?
The discovery of the prawn dates back to around the 1930s and was made possible by the town's seafaring vocation. It arrived at the coast of Palamós introduced by the art of fishing called trawling that was introduced by emigrant fishermen from L'Ametlla de Mar. With this new technique, which consists of fishing with a net that is dragged along the seabed with the help of a boat, large shrimp fishing grounds were discovered and it began to be relevant as an activity specific to the Municipality of Palamós.
But is the Gamba de Palamós the same as the rest of the Costa Brava?
The Palamós prawn is characterized by its very intense red color and is valued for its fine, firm and tasty meat. It is fished at a depth of between 400 and 800 meters, summer being the time when they are at their largest.
The fishing grounds of Palamós are very rich in biodiversity and close to the coast, which allows for an important contribution of nutrients that give this prawn a very special flavor and colour.
To this must be added the excellence in the treatment of the product from the time it is caught until it reaches the final consumer, a fact that has been consolidated with a Guarantee Mark.
What does the Palamós Shrimp Marga Guarantee Quality Seal represent?
The Town Council of Palamós and the Fishermen's Association promoted the Palamós Prawn Guarantee Mark since 2007 with the aim of ensuring the traceability of the product, increasing consumer confidence, increasing the value of the prawn and protecting the resource .
At the Palamós market, each batch of landed prawns is rigorously examined before being awarded the certified product label.
There are some parameters that are used at the Llotja to classify the quality of the prawns such as:
Hard head, red and moist, firm and crunchy texture, clean presentation, whole and without wounds, temperature below 5ºC...
For issues of sustainability, it also takes a few months off every year in order to guarantee its continuity.
How does Palamós Prawn eat?
In short, a good red prawn must be an explosion of the sea on our taste buds, which allows the confluence of salty touches with the natural sweetness of its meat. That's why one of the most respectful options with this product is to grill them over and over on medium-high heat and once they're out, give them a touch of coarse salt, to exploit their flavor even more. They are typically eaten with the hands.
Have you been wanting to know more?
You can taste them every season, in the restaurants of the Bay of Calonge and Sant Antoni and Palamós with the Prawn menu.
You can also make one guided tour with tasting at the Palamós Fishing Museum.
And if you want some to try, you can also buy them online_