We explain how to recognize the authentic Palamós prawn in a very simple way, where and how it is fished and when is the best time of year to taste it.
How to recognize Palamós prawns?
Palamós Prawns are the star product of the Costa Brava. Of the crustacean species, the Palamós prawn is a red prawn with a strong but exquisite flavour, and an unmistakable aroma that is at the same time very fresh. It is distinguished from other varieties of prawns caught in the Mediterranean by its sweeter flavour. The best way to taste Palamós prawns is simply and only by grilling them. If you try it, you'll see that it doesn't need anything else.
Where and how is the Prawn of Palamós fished?
This variety of red prawn is found off the Costa Brava, which runs from Cap de Begur to the Ridaura stream in Platja d'Aro). The most important fishing ground is located 400 meters deep, about 3 miles from Cap de Sant Sebastià, which is why it is called Gamba de Palamós.
Palamós prawns are fished using the trawling technique. This technique was introduced to the area in the early 1930s by fishermen from Ametlla de Mar, in Tarragona, where this technique had already been used for years. The use of trawling made it possible to discover large fishing grounds where this species abounded.
The technique of trawling involves dragging the net along the seabed. Due to the strong impact of this fishing technique on the seabed, the Palamós fishermen’s association agreed to a 2 months closure period, from January to March, during which trawling is prohibited in order to protect the seabed, help in its recovery and regeneration in a natural way as well as to preserve and protect the species.
In the port of Palamós there are 9 trawlers dedicated to fishing for prawns and have a quality certification. However, during the high season, from May to July, there can be up to 35 boats. Between 120 and 170 tonnes of prawns are caught annually and are divided into three types according to their size: large, medium and small.
The prawn fishermen leave the port at dawn to go to the fishing grounds where they drop their nets and return to port in the afternoon/evening, when you can see them unloading the boats and you can visit the fish auction in the market.
If you want to learn more about the fishing tradition and the different techniques used, we recommend a visit to the Palamós Fishing Museum.
Palamós Prawn Menu
From May to July you can enjoy the Shrimp Menu offered by many restaurants in the Bay of Palamós (Palamós, Calonge, Sant Antoni and Vall-llobrega). This menu has the same price in all the restaurants that offer it and consists of toast with tomato and anchovies, medium sized prawns from Palamós, roasted noodles with allioli, dessert, wine and coffee.
Literally, finger-licking good!