tofino food - west coast shrimp

West Coast Shrimp

by Trilogy Fish, Tofino

W What's the difference between Shrimp and Prawns?" Size and Region. In most areas, shrimp are small and the larger animals are prawns. And, it seems size does count. The larger the shrimp, the more they cost.

Shrimp are found worldwide. Here, in Tofino on the West Coast we have pink shrimp (Pandalus borealis); side-stripe shrimp (Pandalopsis dispar); and spot prawns (Pandalus platyceros). Other shrimp available on the market are usually farmed and exported from Ecuador, Southeast Asia/China and Mexico.

Unless you are able to buy shrimp or prawns fresh in season, expect to buy them frozen or thawed. "Fresh" raw shrimp often means "previously frozen and thawed." This is fine if you are going to eat them immediately but ask your fish monger for frozen to enjoy the freshest taste. Once thawed the shrimp are highly perishable. Be sure the meat smells sweet and has no trace of ammonia smell.

In Tofino, some shrimp fishermen freeze their shrimp head-off in water. This is a fine method of preservation and allows you to eat shrimp in the off season and still savor the sweet taste of the fish. For the freshest in frozen product, try IQF (individually quick frozen); shrimp and prawns individually frozen at sea. This method preserves the freshness best and is second only to having fresh caught product.

How to cook shrimp

Shrimp are tender — The best way to cook them is to boil water, add shrimp, cooking for about 3 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the water and chill in ice water.

As the shrimp get larger, they become more firm and you can grill, sauté or broil with your favourite seasonings.


My friend Cheryl gave me her recipe and I have to tell you, it's tasty and a nice change from the same-old same-old. There are no portions so experiment and adjust each spice to taste.

 Cheryl's Shrimp Recipe
 Olive oil
 Cracked Pepper
 Lemon Juice
 Lea and Perrins Sauce (Wourcestershire Sauce)
 Crushed Rosemary

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Add shell on raw prawns. Mix.
Place in a shallow baking dish spacing evenly.
Broil for 15-20 minutes at 350°F.

Peel and eat.

Lick you fingers.
Hmm, Hmm, Hmmm…

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Information about west coast shrimp from Tofino fish experts Trilogy Fish with tips on how to cook shrimp and Cheryl's Shrimp Recipe.

tofino time june 2002

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