One of the world's most coveted Prawns, Carabineros are a large deep-sea prawn species that hail from Eastern Atlantic into the Mediterranean Sea. Known by a myriad of names - to the Spanish and Portuguese as "Carabineros", to the English as "Scarlet Cardinal Prawns", and to the French as the "Crevette Imperiale", they are renowned for their immense size and striking bright red color that is due to the high levels of pink plankton the animals feed on.
Given their name by the Spanish - Carabineros translates as "police" - reputedly because the color of their shells matched the uniforms of Spanish customs police, their distinct red color does not change when cooked (as does a lobster shell from blue to red when boiled.) More distinct and robust in flavor than other shrimps or langoustine, they are also coveted for their large size. While their meat resides in the tail, their cephalothoraxes (head and body) are not to be overlooked, and are excellent for making clear and creamed soups and sauces to which it adds flavor and red color. None of this prawn should go to waste, and some Europeans consider the flavor of their heads as the quintessential ocean delicacy.
Trawler with Turtle Exclusion and Bycatch Reduction Devices.
Traditionally prepared in Spain and Portugal as simply salted and grilled, some suggest that they should be treated as a delicate small lobster versus a simple shrimp. Regardless, they can be poached, sautéed, steamed and are excellent in paellas, robust stews, etc. - and many chefs value the "plate appeal" of their color and size when served whole.