Frank Greenslades sells a wide range of fish, mainly caught in the local waters around Bournemouth and Poole, including lobsters, crabs, scallops, sprats, oysters and winkles.
Winkles and I go back a long way; when I was just knee high my dad taught me how to winkle out the meat from these tiny black lustrous shells with a pin. Armed with pins and a large bowl of fresh winkles we would happily wile away several hours on a Saturday afternoon. My pops would pile them on a thin piece of finely buttered white bread making himself a winkle sandwich.
Growing up the last of eight children for my dad treats were far and few between; every morsel of food was protected and devoured as quickly as possible. After her weekly shop in Tunbridge Wells their weary mum would arrive home laden with food and if they were lucky four pints of winkles for the children to winkle out all Saturday evening and eat with fresh bread from the local bakery.
Today winkles are protected around the UK with many local councils regulating a closed season from mid-May to mid-September.
A few week ago we enjoyed a large bowel of fresh winkles curtesy of Frank Greenslades. My dad was transported back to his childhood, as was I, and my children got to enjoy them for the first time. We briefly boiled the winkles – for literally minutes, just to kill them – then ate them fresh and briny straight from their shells – divine.