Purple Ama ebi – Purple Prawn
Aristeus Antennatus is one of the two most sought-after Red Prawn species. The Purple Prawn is actually red in color, but is easily recognized by the purple spot on its head. It is also famous as the “Gallipoli Shrimp” a bit because it is there in front of the “Città Bella,” in the Ionian Sea that it is fished, with trawls, but only at certain times of the year, avoiding those of reproduction, of course, a little because it is precisely in Apulia that “sashimi,” better known locally as “raw fish,” has been unwittingly consumed since time immemorial, and here the most prized morsel, along with the sea urchin, is the Purple Shrimp, so much so that it has earned the nickname “Imperial.”
In Gallipoli you can find it fresh, freshly caught, and we absolutely recommend it, but for those who can only enjoy it elsewhere, in a sushi bar in other Italian or European cities, for example, Nipponia selects a production culled on board the fishing boat immediately after the catch, when the shrimp is still alive, without added glazing.
This is the right way to preserve it for consumption raw as sashimi or on sushi. Once thawed in the refrigerator, it regains the fragrance of its flesh when fresh, alive, as if you resume the “play” button on the remote control after the “pause” of freezing. And what’s more, it is safe, free from anysakys or other parasites that may be found in the fresh state and die instantly with culling.
Imperial Purple Shrimp should be eaten strictly raw and, if possible, served in sashimi alongside the other red shrimp (Aristomorpha foliacea), which is more heavily fished on the Tyrrhenian side of the Mediterranean, for a mind-boggling comparison of the world’s most exquisite shrimp. Alternatively, light marinating with extra virgin olive oil, very little lemon or yuzu juice, and pink peppercorns is recommended.