One of the joys of living in Suffolk is easy access to some amazing seafood. I once went fishing for brown shrimp with Mike Warner of a Passion for Seafood, trawling shin-deep with a large rectangular net in the hope of scooping up enough of these scrumptious little crustaceans to cook and eat on Sizewell beach. That’s me on the left in the photo, the bedraggled one in the brown coat.
Using a push net has memorably been compared to cutting the grass with an old-fashioned lawn mower and as I get out of breath starting a ride-on I wasn’t very good at it. Happily Mike had the foresight to pack a pre-cooked lobster. He’s an excellent friend to have.
These days Mike has his own fish shop at Grange Farm at Hasketon near Woodbridge, so I don’t even have to get my feet wet. Not only that, he’d already picked the shrimps, a fiddly job. As I’m bone idle, I also asked him to dress the crabs I used in this recipe, which therefore brings together not one but two of the gorgeous types of shellfish found off our shores.
Notes: in the quantities given the recipe makes two individual crab and shrimp terrines to serve as a light, luxurious lunch or supper, perfect with a side salad and a good baguette. You’ll need two largish cocottes. Mine hold 175ml, and are about 9cm in diameter and 5cm deep. If you’d prefer to stretch the recipe, use smaller pots and maybe add a scant tablespoon of mayonnaise to the brown meat, which should be enough for three or four as a starter.
North American friends should note this recipe is all about brown food – brown crab and brown shrimps. The latter are tiny, not the enormous prawns you call shrimp on your side of the pond. You may be familiar with them as the British delicacy, potted shrimp. I’m using some of the same flavours here.
Crab and Shrimp Terrines
2 medium crabs, giving about 150g each of brown and white meat
70g peeled brown shrimps
Zest of ¼ large lemon and a squeeze of its juice
1 tbsp finely chopped chervil (or use parsley or herb fennel)
About ¼ tsp powdered mace
A pinch of cayenne
Line your cocottes with cling film, leaving an overhang sufficient to cover the pots after filling. Separate the brown and white crab meat and brown shrimps into three small bowls. Pick over the crab meat to make sure there are no lurking fragments of shell.
Zest the lemon straight into the brown crab meat and season with a good grind of black pepper.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the white meat, along with the finely chopped chervil. Taste and season with a little salt if necessary but bear in mind the shrimps are quite saline.
Season the shrimps with mace, cayenne and black pepper, to taste.
Put a layer of brown shrimps in the lined cocottes, dividing them equally. Top with a layer of white crab meat and finish with the brown meat. Fold the cling film over the top, press gently but firmly, and chill for at least four hours or overnight.
Remove from the fridge 20-30 minutes before you want to eat. Peel back the cling film and use it to carefully pull the terrines out of the pots. Upend onto plates so the shrimps are on top. Garnish with a few sprigs of chervil and serve with good bread and a side salad of rocket or lamb’s lettuce.