Saturday, 2 April 2011

Potting power

A day of potting.

Today I potted shrimps and then the first batch of tomatoes in anticipation of summer - three young Black Russian plants, still striplings and quivering with every breeze, but ripe with promise.

I'll have to wait a few months for the Black Russians but thankfully the potted shrimp is ready to savour straight away. This is a dish that never fails to make me wish I was beside the seaside, somewhere old fashioned and quiet. The sort of place I might meet Agatha Christie on a stroll along the promenade. No golden sand or cafe bars, just pebbles, striped windbreakers and the brisk waters of the English channel.

Serves 4 as a starter

225g peeled brown shrimps
100g salted butter
½ tsp ground black pepper
a large pinch of ground mace
1 bay leaf

1) Melt 80g of the butter in a small pan, then add the mace, black pepper and bay leaf. Stir to combine, then stir in the brown shrimps and cook in the flavoured butter over a medium heat for two minutes.

2) Remove the bay leaf and spoon into individual pots, and leave to chill in the fridge.

3) Clarify the remaining butter by melting over a low heat, skimming any foam off the top. Then pour the clear butter into a small jug, leaving behind the white milk solids that have settled at the bottom. Pour the clear butter over the shrimps, leave to cool until set and then serve with a wedge of lemon, a crisp green salad and a hunk of good bread.

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