I do love spending time on the coast, it’s not the beach that I’m overly fond of (I don’t ‘do’ lying on the beach sunbathing) although I do like to feel the sand between my toes; it is the sea itself. From the gentle lapping of the waves to the rougher tides I love to see it all.
Maybe it’s because I don’t spend that much time on the coast that it appeals all the more, that once or twice a year jaunt is all the more special than the once a week outing I suppose. Or maybe it’s just that spending time looking out over the sea gives solitude and time for thinking, even if surrounded by many other people? I’m sure the knowledge that the sea is full of edible bounty has a positive impact also.
Of these (I’d love to say abundant but alas that is no longer the case) bounties one of my favourites has to be the brown shrimp (Crangon crangon, which comes from the Greek Crangon meaning shrimp). Brown shrimps are smaller and sweeter than your everyday pink prawns, but are well worth the extra fiddle when it comes to shelling them.
I bought my brown shrimp ready peeled from the fabulous Lobster Pot in Mundesley Norfolk. The Lobster Pot is a small family run business supplying fabulously fresh fish and seafood from the local area, a place where seasonality and sustainability matter.
(Do excuse the carrier bags, that’s just a small part of the haul I bought to bring back home!!)
Although seen by many as the poor man’s prawn, brown shrimps have a delicious, delicate flavour that’s enjoyed most typically potted under a generous dollop of butter they might not be one for the diet but who cares, they taste delicious.
I love cold potted shrimps but even better than that is brown shrimps gently heated through in hot butter, this can simply be done by tipping a pot of potted shrimp into a saucepan and heating gently, but a better way is to make a gently spiced butter which you heat to a sizzle before dropping in the prepared shrimp. One of my favourite recipes for the butter is one of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls. Hugh calls it a buttery beauty and he’s certainly not wrong – slightly spiced with cayenne pepper and lifted by the citrus tang of lemons; it draws upon the sweetness of the shrimps and makes for a feast for the taste-buds indeed.
All you really need to accompany such a feast is some fresh from the oven brown bread.