Cook: Scottish Fare Part II; Two and a Half Shellfish Receipts: ‘Potted Shrimp for an Australian Yuletide Table’ & ‘A Pot of Warm Langoustines’
Potted Shrimps, writes Florence White in Good Things In England, are delicious as an appetiser with wholemeal bread and butter.
The Shrimps recipe is “From a Cookery Book belonging to Miss Hope, dated 1797”.
Her brief ingredients list requires a little translation, having been written in the 18th Century, but you can whip this up in a jiffy.
Before I begin, allow me to dispel a myth about shellfish. Shellfish bad for cholesterol? No! Less than half the cholesterol in shellfish can be absorbed by the body. It’s transfats and other bad fats that are the culprit of increased blood cholesterol levels.
On the contrary, shrimps, prawns, langoustines – these are nutritional gold. Particularly for people who suffer from sulfites sensitivity or MSG allergies, as they are rich in B Vitamins, including B12 and niacin.
Shrimps are high in Omega 3, are a source of lean protein and are also high in phosphorous, zinc and iron. They are very low in calories and will fill you up.*
Even more important in the cloudy climes of Britain, shellfish are incredibly high in Vitamin D.
Defeciencies in Vitamin D can produce depression, auto-immune disorders, osteoporosis and hypertension. A serving of shrimp (4 oz or 120gm) contains as much Vitamin D as a glass of milk. Which is brilliant for those of us who are dairy free.
To top it all off, shellfish are low in mercury. Perfect. Off we go!
Recipe One from Good Things in England:
Potted Shrimps for an Australian Yuletide
Ingredients: Picked shrimps 2 quarts; mace ¼oz; nutmeg ½ of a ¼oz nutmeg and cloves, and salt as you please; butter 1 lb.
Time: 10 minutes
NB For dairy-free folk – if you can’t eat Butter, replace with Coconut Oil.
Picked Shrimps are simply cleaned and shelled – in Australia we would call these Prawns, but apparently, in the UK and elsewhere, Prawns are Langoustines.
So I’ll prepare a Langoustine appetiser for you shortly that is, like Miss Hope’s, very quick and easy. Mine though will be served warm, where hers is chilled over night.
This recipe is in the Savouries chapter. Savouries were essentially a supper – even a late one returning say, in your carriage after the theatre! Make these for your fridge and you’ll never have to resort to that eponymous delicacy Vegemite on Toast at 11pm again. With shrimp, you’ll be getting just as much Vitamin B, as well as many other nutritional benefits.
Her recipe looks quite delicious and when I am able to buy some really fresh shrimps, it’s definitely on my list to make.
Potted Shrimps would make an excellent appetiser on an Australian Christmas Menu! Particularly handy as they can be made weeks in advance, leaving you time on Christmas Eve to make your gluten-free hazelnut meal chocolate Christmas Log.
- Season the picked shrimps (peeled, deveined, washed, raw prawns!) well with the spice and salt and lay out in a greased baking dish.
- Add the butter, cut up.
- Put in a cool oven (140°C) for 10-15 minutes according to the heat of the oven.
- Take them out and put into a colander to drain off the butter into a basin.
- Pack the shrimps tightly in pots and when quite cold, cover them with the butter which should be kept hot for this purpose.
This gentle cooking method will make for delicate, tender shrimp.
Recipe One and A Half
There is a second recipe in Good Things in England, hidden cheekily just below the first, with a tiny header A CHEAPER RECIPE, 1830.
This recipe uses the same method but only 2oz butter. The butter is melted then the shrimps stirred in before they go in the slow oven for 10 minutes. Once the shrimps have been gently cooked, stirred and tightly packed in jars, they are sealed this time with clarified butter, just enough to cover.
The first recipe almost creates Clarified Butter as part of the cooking process. The milk solids would cook with the shrimps, so that when the warm butter is poured over the top, the effect would be much the same as using Clarified Butter.
If you would rather use the second recipe, Clarified Butter is made like this:
- Warm a block of butter in a fry pan over gentle heat for 10 minutes.
- Just as the solids in the now separated mix start to turn golden brown, quickly pour the liquid through a muslin-cloth-lined sieve into a bowl or jar.
- The liquid in your bowl is Clarified Butter.
Once you have sealed your Potted Shrimps with the Butter, they will keep for up to a month in the fridge! The butter keeps out nasties – a natural method of preserving for the days before fridges when larders were the only way to keep food. It’s the same theory as Confit Duck.
Now, as I sit here in 6°C, I want a warm seafood appetiser. So here is my new take on Miss Hope’s appetiser.
Recipe Two: Dishy Langoustines
A Pot of Fresh Langoustines for a Chilly Scottish Port-side November Eve
The Langoustines or Scampi Tails I found, called Prawns, at Am Buth Bheag in
Kyle of Lochalsh, still had a lot of roe clinging to their underbellies. Perfect. Tasty, health-giving garnish.
The roe is an excellent source of Vitamin C; Thiamin, Riboflavin, B12 (more B Vits!); Folate, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) and trace minerals Potassium, Phosphorous and Selenium.
Potassium is incredibly important, as it is vital to balance your intake of Sodium and Potassium, so they are equal to each other.
If you can increase your Potassium intake levels, you can stop thinking about trying to decrease your Sodium.
Serves 4 as a light appetiser
- 200gm beheaded but unshelled Prawns or Scampi Tails
- ¼ tsp mace or nutmeg, grated
- half a lemon, Fresh Juice of
- 10gm butter
- 2 tbsp fish or shellfish roe
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
NB again, for dairy-free folk – if you can’t eat Butter, replace with Coconut Oil.
- Scoop out any roe from the Scampi bellies and set aside for garnishing.
- Bring 1 inch of water to the boil in the bottom of a saucepan, then reduce to a simmer.
- Throw in the scampi, nutmeg or mace, Cover and Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Drain the scampi in a sieve.
- Toss the cooked Scampi in a bowl with the lemon juice and butter.
- Serve in small ‘Pots’ on the table.
- This should be about 6 Scampi tails per person. A flavourful, light and headily healthy starter.
TIP: For the diners to shell the Scampi at the table is easy.
- Hold your scampi in your fingers with the underside facing you.
- Squeeze your fingers together at the opposing edges of the shell until the shell makes a ‘crack’.
- Now you can easily pull off the shell, legs and all.
- a finger bowl of warm water with a floating lemon slice for each person and;
- a ‘poubelle de table’ or a big bowl or jar on the table for the empty shells. Enjoy!