BC Spot Prawn Fishing with Dr. David Suzuki & Organic Ocean

I’m on a boat with T-Pain David Suzuki!

Follow Me Foodie to BC Spot Prawn Fishing with Dr. David Suzuki & Organic Ocean!

A sustainable seafood feast with BC Spot Prawns & Japanese Style Octopus 5 Ways + Recipes.

As much as I love restaurants, some of my most epic meal times have been outside of them (see Lamb 5 Ways, 50 lbs of Alaskan King Crab, Epic Summer BBQ Round 1Ukrainian Easter Dinner), and here’s another to add to the list!

Going spot prawn fishing with Dr. David Suzuki was a highlight on its own, but it was only half the adventure. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the very first BC Spot Prawns of the season, and since it was recreational fishing we didn’t break any rules. Not only was it a gorgeous day, but we were successful with our catch.

I got to steer the boat, have spot prawn sashimi for breakfast, kiss a live octopus, put it back in the water, and then eat one cooked 5 ways for lunch… next to the 24 lbs of spot prawns we caught that morning. And between the docking of the boat and lunch I got to see a mother goose hatch her eggs! Last Saturday was hard to beat.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (10)So back track… we started the morning on a boat.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (71)Just kidding. We started the morning on this boat – the Organic Ocean boat on Granville Island.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (24)And a very bumpy 20 minute ride later, breakfast was served. But before I got to this happy face, work had to be done. Actually I was a combination of happy, excited and jittery because he kept jumping out of my hands. He knew I skipped breakfast.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (17)Imagine doing this 150+ times a day. Each catch has about 3 lbs of spot prawns and during spot prawn season the boys do this 150+ times a day (commercial fishing). I was under the assumption each catch would be full with prawns, but nope. On occasion there might be no prawns too if the wrong kind of fish gets in the net and scares them away.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (43)Like this one!

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (44)And everyone is happy when he gets sent back home. (Those are not my arms.)

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (48)And once in a while you catch one of these!

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (51)And after a kiss goodbye he also went back in the water.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (29)We came especially for these!

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (21)Bon appetite! It doesn’t get any fresher than this.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (55)Part owner and fisherman Steve of Organic Ocean, Dr. David Suzuki, Me, Chef Jason Bangerter of Langdon Hall in Toronto, and Organic Ocean’s fisherman Frank.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (73)BC spot prawn season officially started on May 8, so for the next two months expect to see it dominating menus. Seafood enthusiasts anticipate the season, but it is a shame we can only enjoy them within this precious time frame; after all, they flourish throughout the summer months too. For my full article on BC spot prawns and how I feel about the current spot prawn harvesting system see here.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (90)So we didn’t exactly celebrate our catch at a traditional restaurant, but instead we took it to the Organic Ocean headquarters located right by the dock. This is not a public restaurant, although it would be sweet if it was. I know this looks super shady, and usually these adventures only happen to me when I’m in Asia, but I was more than on board the idea. I was brought back to memories of eating at the Aberdeen Fish Market & Fisherman’s Cafeteria in Hong Kong (one of my favourite restaurants in Hong Kong).

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (85)I thought I was only getting spot prawns, which I would have been more than happy with, but little did I know we were getting this! Octopus in 5 ways (I’ll show you the 5th way in a later photo).

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (77)Lunch was prepared by the “corporate chef” of Organic Ocean, Kenji (who is actually the rock star delivery driver at Organic Ocean), his wife Mieko and his two lovely daughters. Many of the people I was with were new to octopus, so Kenji wanted to introduce them to it with some traditional and modern Japanese recipes.

I asked Kenji and his wife how local octopus differed from octopus in Japan which is usually imported (often caught with non-sustainable methods too). Some octopus in Japan is caught there, but the demand for octopus is high and common to the Japanese diet. Since the ocean currents are faster and stronger in Japan the muscles of the octopus tend to be bigger and thus tougher.

Based on working with this 12 lbs Organic Ocean caught BC octopus (20 lbs with the head), both said the quality was better than what they experienced in Japan. Often in Japan they aren’t sure where the octopus is from, so they couldn’t even compare a BC octopus to anything specific.

They found the BC octopus easier to cook and eat and not as sensitive to overcooking. In Japan the octopus gets tougher, harder and chewier once you overcook it, but the one they worked with here got softer and more tender as they cooked it.

Kenji is not a professional chef (I was surprised, watch out Guu!), but he used the same homestyle methods to prepare octopus as he would in Japan and the results were noticeably different. I haven’t experienced cooking octopus enough to relate, but Kenji’s comments were interesting to note. I also asked for some of his delicious Japanese inspired octopus recipes which he was happy to share.

A sustainable seafood feast with BC Spot Prawns & Japanese Style Octopus 5 Ways + Recipes.

Octopus Carpaccio Recipe

This is not Japanese, but Kenji’s own recipe and it was a crowd favourite. It was a Italian style octopus salad and it was light, acidic, salty and Mediterranean in flavours and concept. It had less than 5 ingredients and his recipes were all simple to prepare.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (81)1. Wash the octopus with potato starch instead of salt to remove the slime. Kenji prefers using potato starch instead of salt to control the salt content.

2. Boil the octopus for 3-5 minutes so the outside is cooked, but the inside is still raw. Thinly slice the tentacles.

3. Allow to cool and top with sliced Mediterranean olives and chopped basil. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette, extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle of salt to finish.

Japanese Style Octopus Sashimi Recipe

This was similar to the carpaccio, but Japanese in flavours and style. The acid was softer being ponzu instead of balsamic and it gave it a fruity aspect.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (82)1. Wash the octopus with potato starch instead of salt to remove the slime. Kenji prefers using potato starch instead of salt to control the salt content.

2. Boil the octopus for 3-5 minutes so the outside is cooked, but the inside is still raw. Thinly slice the tentacles.

3. Top with grated Chinese radish (daikon) marinated in ponzu and chilies.

Japanese Style Pressure Cooked Octopus Recipe

Pressure cooked octopus is the way to go. The texture was incredible and I was so surprised it didn’t overcook or get tough and chewy.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (83)1. Wash the octopus with potato starch instead of salt to remove the slime. Kenji prefers using potato starch instead of salt to control the salt content.

2. Fill the pressure cooker with dashi stock (Japanese seafood broth). Home made is always best, but Kenji used instant and it was still delicious.

3. Put the octopus in the dashi broth and pressure cook for 15 minutes.

4. Mix the dashi stock with some salt, soy sauce and Japanese rice wine. Drizzle the sauce over the sliced ocotpus and serve chilled.

Takoyaki

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (78)Takoyaki are popular Japanese street snacks. They are Japanese octopus balls/fritters made with a Japanese style pancake batter, scallions, octopus and tempura bits. The recipe will vary, but traditionally each ball always has a piece of octopus and pickled ginger. Kenji just used a prepared takoyaki batter for this and to cater to Western tastes he didn’t include the pickled ginger. So while this recipe was not “authentic”, it was still excellent.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (88)Takoyaki is always finished with Japanese mayo, takoyaki sauce, bonito flakes and dried seaweed. If you’ve never tried takoyaki you can also try them at many Japanese restaurants around town. It is often found under appetizers.

Japanese Octopus Fried Rice

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (86)No Asian meal is complete without rice.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (87)Even better.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (91)Look at the size!

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (92)Spot prawn facts:

  • A worldwide delicacy recognized by their reddish brown colour and white spots on tail
  • Wild BC spot prawns are the largest of the seven commercial species of shrimp on the West Coast of Canada
  • Some larger females exceed 23 cm in length
  • Wild BC spot prawns are hermaphrodites: they spend their first two years male, and then change to female
  •  Roughly 2,450 metric tonnes are harvested annually
  • More at WildBCSpotPrawns.com
  • To see full article on BC spot prawns – see here.

Spot PrawnCheers!

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (65)I can’t finish this post without showing you the mother goose I saw having her babies! The father is in the background protecting his family.

Organic Ocean BC Spot Prawns (67)One week later.

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