I'm really pleased that Sainsbury's, at least in my local shop, have started selling jellied eels and brown shrimps. While I'm still not that keen on the jellied eels (sorry, Londoners) I've always wondered why so many people opt instinctively for prawns that are shipped across from the other side of the world instead of these delicious little shrimps, native to our shores.
If you've never tried them, they're tiny little brownish-pink curled up shrimps that are usually bought cooked - either potted, or sold cooked and peeled. I read Xanthe Clay's article (on the Telegraph's website) about the possible decline of the brown shrimp industry in Morecambe Bay and her recommendations for serving them, just warmed in a little butter.
In a way, I can understand people's preference for the plump, blushing pink prawns from Asia. They're meatier, larger and look more attractive in a stir-fry or curry. But the big advantage these little tiny brown shrimps have is that they're packed full of sweet flavour - and taste just like the sea. I heated up a batch with some butter and served them on toast, partly as an experiment to see if the children would eat them. And they did - we soon found ourselves fighting for the last few spoonfuls.
If you can get hold of them, do give them a go - to me, it seems madness that we're buying in prawns shipped in from across the other side of the world and neglecting these little beauties crawling around our shores.
How to cook them: Warm a generous knob of butter in a non-stick frying pan and, when it's melted, tumble in the cooked shrimps. Crack in a little black pepper and heat gently, stirring them over in the melted butter until warmed through - about 2 minutes. Eat straight away, with toast.
Have you tried brown shrimps? What do you think of them?