Morbid talk in the kitchen today as someone asked that killer question: “What would your last meal be?” (I hasten to add that my team are a pretty upbeat bunch, but as food obsessives, these things matter).
For me, there’s no question of what I would want served up before I shuffle off to meet my maker: A seafood feast.
Fish is one of my great loves, but the real delights of the ocean are to be found in crustaceans, molluscs and shellfish.
Like many children of the 1970s, my first experience of crustaceans was as you’d expect: Scampi and chips in a basket. I like to think my tastes have become a little more sophisticated nowadays, but I admit to still being rather nostalgic for that seaside holiday staple.
Today, I positively crave the rich, varied bounty of treasures offered up by the ocean. Lobster, oysters, scallops, prawns, mussels – the unmistakable flavour of the sea.
As with all ingredients, freshness is key. In fact, when it comes to cooking with crustaceans and molluscs, it’s essential.
Fortunately, we’re an island nation with an abundance of fisheries bringing in some of the most flavoursome catches in the world.
Our native lobster has an intensity of flavour unmatched by its American or Canadian counterparts, while some of the finest oysters in the world come out of Essex.
Hand-dived Scottish scallops are supreme, and I’ve never tasted any crab that matches the quality of the ones that come out of Dorset.
In short, British waters are teeming with flavours. There’s never been a better excuse to support UK fishermen by trying out some new ingredients.
Definitely buy fresh, but if you can buy live crustaceans, even better. If you’re going to the trouble of sourcing and cooking lobster, then buying one live will give you the most incredible flavour.
While a crustacean feast would always be my dream meal, there’s simpler and quicker ways to enjoy a taste of the sea. Get these prawns marinating before you leave the house in the morning for an easy light supper.
Chargrilled prawns with lime and chilli
- Split the prawns along the back using a sharp knife
- Mix all the ingredients together and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
- When you are ready to cook, place the prawns on a hot grill. Cook for 2 minutes either side, turning once.
- Remove from the grill, add a further squeeze of lime, scatter over finely chopped parsley and serve.