I was loitering with intent at our local fish van the other day and as usual I couldn’t decide what to buy, so I bought nearly everything. Mummery Brothers hail from Lowestoft and they make regular visits to Diss, just over the Norfolk border from us, with an excellent selection of gleaming fresh fish.
Among my haul (pun intended) was a tray of tiny, tasty brown shrimps and a bag of locally-picked sampshire. I wanted to cook them with pasta so I adapted a Theo Randall recipe from the Huffington Post.
Him Outdoors is definitely not a pasta fan but even he had to admit it was good: a gentle but flavourful dish. Because I’m not a complete sadist, I cooked it as a starter. Increase the proportions to taste if you’d like to eat it as a main course.
I used vermicelloni because I couldn’t source tagliarini: the recipe does require some sort of quite thin pasta. Samphire is salty so be cautious in adding extra – taste as you go. Make sure everything is prepped before you put the water on for the pasta because this is a very quick dish, equally at home as a midweek supper or a dinner party starter.
Vermicelloni with Brown Shrimps and Samphire
125g vermicelloni or similar
80g samphire, well rinsed and picked over
100g peeled, cooked brown shrimps
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 tspn chopped fresh parsley
50g unsalted butter
A squeeze of lemon, to serve
In a large pot of boiling salted water cook the pasta until it is al dente. Throw in the samphire for the last 1-2 minutes.
Heat the butter in a frying pan and add the garlic and parsley. Cook for one minute then add the shrimps.
Drain the vermicelloni and samphire thoroughly but retain a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Empty the pasta and samphire into the pan with the shrimps and toss well, adding a little of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce. Check the seasoning and serve with a wedge of lemon to squeeze over.