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Choosing is often not easy, as prawns go by many colloquial names, including shrimps and scampi. In various regions, different names have become fairly established, but there is no fixed definition.
Prawns are crustaceans and only have feelers, but no claws. Besides prawns, there are other crustaceans such as lobster or crab that look similar in some respects, but do have claws.
Raw prawns are tinged grey in colour, and pre-cooked ones are more of a pink colour. As soon as raw prawns are heated, they also turn a distinctly pink colour.

Cooking methods

Smaller prawns are excellent in salads, risotto or as a general accompaniment. The large specimens are often used in stews or as main dishes.
Prawns are best grilled (e.g. on skewers) and can be served with the usual barbecue accompaniments.
Pan-frying is another very popular cooking method.

Flavour and texture

The flesh of prawns ranges from bright white to dark red.
It is firm and crispy, but very tender, high in protein, and tastes spicy and aromatic.

Fishing method