Green prawns freeze very well! - check with trawler operators at time of purchase for freezing procedure of their catch.
Buying Green Balmain Bugs
Chilled or Green Balmain Bugs do not survive too long after they’ve been killed and it’s important to cook them within 48 hours. They can be kept for up to 3 months frozen but will need to be stored at about -18°C.
Buying Cooked Balmain Bugs
When buying cooked balmain bugs there are some important things to look out for. Make sure they have a brightly coloured, firm, intact shell without any discolouration, particularly in the joints. They’ll have a fresh sea smell, be heavy for their size and the tails should be curled. Once they've been cooked it's not a good idea to recook bugs but that's okay - they taste great on cold seafood plates and in salads.
Buying Live Balmain Bugs
Live Balmain Bugs don’t survive out of the water very long and should be stored in a container with a damp cloth covering. You can store them in the crisper of the fridge for only a few hours before you will need to kill them. The most humane way to do this is to place them in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes, but not long enough to freeze.
Opening a Balmain Bug
Place the chilled or cooked bug on its back and use a sharp knife or cleaver to split the length of the shell from head to tail. Then simply remove the digestive tract running down the middle of the tail meat and use a teaspoon to clean out the head cavity. Bugs do have fairly thick shells to you can always ask your fishmonger to halve it for you.
To serve the meat on its own turn the tail over and cut down either side of the underside of the tail shell using kitchen scissors. Then pull the shell back and remove the meat. For a demonstration of this see the “How to open a Balmain Bug” clip on our video page.
Balmain Bug Cooking Tips
You can easily steam, poach, deep-fry, stir-fry grill or even barbeque Balmain Bugs. You should always undercook rather than overcook though as bugs will continue to cook from residual heat. The shell can then be used on its own to flavour stocks, soups & sauces.
Boil bugs by placing in a large pot of rapidly boiling water that has been well salted. Boil for 6 to 8 minutes depending on size. Refresh in iced water, open and serve.
To barbeque just cut in half lengthways and cook in the shell with garlic or herb butter drizzled over the cut surface.