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Monday, September 14, 2015


Photo from julian cañadas

langostino español, camarón, OCast. langostin, L. Penaeus kerathurus, Eng. langostine, caramote prawn (triple grooved shrimp). Did you know that there are male shellfish that have a sex change? If you are eating a pawn or a shrimp (the two terms are interchangeable), you are eating a male or a female that has had a sex change.

Before devouring that pawn look for a measuring stick to see whether you are eating a male or a female. If 150 mm long it is a male. If longer it had a sex change and is a female.

In September, males are the first to go to the mating grounds. Females come about 20 days later. Pawns or shrimp complete the breeding season by the end of October. The females lay the eggs that become attached to her abdominal appendages until they hatch in March or April, normally 70-90 m. below sea level. What is hatched are nauplii or larvae that spend 2-3 months vegetating on algae and organic particles, like kelp and surfgrass. They live in bays and inlets, at levels of anywhere from 20-54 m. deep, until winter.

A Male or a Female?
Photo by: Lord-Williams
During the first year of life, they grow to about 100 mm and by winter they are 150 mm long. Now these are all males. When the male is four years old he is 200 mm-230 mm and becomes a female for the final year of his life. He grows to some 353 mm long.

“Why would anyone want to eat that?” J Israel Katz, Musicologist retired from Columbia University, maintains. “Jews, being the most intelligent race in the world, have been prohibited from eating shellfish because they would make them too intelligent.”

Actually, one might compare refrigeration techniques when shellfish became prohibited in Biblical times and those of today but Dr. Katz continues, “Only gentiles eat them in an effort to become as intelligent as Jews.” Pawns do have the Omega 3, polyunsaturated acid that helps the development of intelligence and the brain.

Pregnant mothers should eat foods, including pawns, containing Omega 3 during the last trimester of their term for this reason. Pawns also combat depression and schizophrenia and relieve arthritis.

Omega 3 oils aid found in shelfish help in the development of eyesight and nerves. Some Omega 3 fatty acids help reduce of heart disease, blood pressure and cholesterol. Prawns also contain Vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12 that aid carbohydrate digestion, the function of the nervous system and increase energy. They provide healthier skin and promote the production of red blood cells and help enzyme production and hormone syntheses. The Vitamin E content reduces cholesterol accumulation. They provide calcium for teeth and bones. The iron content is necessary as an oxygen carrier. For fluid balance and potassium in pawns are necessary for human beings.

Brushing Langotines with 4th Sweet and Sour Sauce
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Caramote prawns are found all over the Mediterranean but most especially in Spain, Italy and western Greece in the Amvrakikos Gulf and on the Atlantic in Galicia, Spain. Since the 14th C, they have been caught by trawling, i.e. sending nets to the bottom of the sea in coastal waters. Avenzoar claimed they had a moderately humid and hot nature. The meat is agreeable. The blood is invisible for the small size of the body but it has substance and is extremely subtle. It does not have viscosidad but is light. Galen claimed they were aphrodisiac. Villena recommends that carvers remove the shell and the nerve along the back by hand and slice the meat with a gañivete.
[ES: Kostas. Oct 23, 1997; ES: “Langostinos.” 2003; ES: Pawns. Jul 4, 01; ES: Shellfish. Aug 7, 03; Gázquez.Cocina. 2002:234; Ibn Zuhr/García Sánchez. 1992: 63; Katz: Conversations. 2000; Villena/Brown. 1984:33:83:108:171; and Villena/Calero. 2002:23a:39b]


For the Sauce:

A Nice Variation
Photo by: Lord-Williams
1 small onion
¼ tsp ground white pepper
½  tsp lovage
½tsp caraway
½tsp cumin
¼ –
⅓ c dates
½ c honey
¼ c vinegar
¼ c vine
1 tsp garum[1]

¼ c olive oil
1 tbsp mustard

25-30 langostines 
6 wooden spits soaked in water for ½ hour


Put al the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor and grind. Pour them into a saucepan. Gently boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Shell pawns and put them on spits.  Paint them with the sauce and grill until done.

Reheat the sauce and serve.

[1] See blog titled almori published August 25, 2011 for recipe. 

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