Potted shrimps is the kind of experience that hits the pleasure buds situated inside the skull, slightly above the ears but below the level of the temples.*
What is potted shrimps?
Basically, little brown, coldwater shrimps, drowned in butter. And then drowned in butter again.
Now, do not imagine for one second that these shrimps are either inferior to or cheaper than the terrifying grey slugs that sit in plastic supermarket boxes labelled Tiger prawns. Oh no. These are almost 3 times the cost, at £3.50/100g. This despite the fact they have travelled only 30 miles (not 30,000) and none of them air. According to the irrepressibly cheeky boy in the fishmongers, this is because someone had to sit and shell every one of them. Fair enough, one thinks and shells out £5.60 for 150g.**
However, the good news is that 150g does three people very comfortably indeed. And the recipe is EASY. Easy peezy.
So, commit to the following ingredients and don’t worry about the fat content. It isn’t necessary to eat anything else that evening, provided you make enough toast to go with it.
200g unsalted butter
150g brown Morecambe Bay shrimps
1/4tsp white pepper
1/2tsp fish sauce (the brownish Thai stuff in a bottle – nam pla)
1/4tsp lemon juice.
1. Melt the butter until it splits. Don’t bother waiting for the flecks of buttermilk to turn golden; it’s too risky, just wait for it to drop to the bottom of the melty goodness.
2. Pour off the clear (i.e. clarified) butter and ditch the buttermilk.
3. Pour two thirds of the clarified butter back into the pan and add all the ingredients except the shrimps. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes.
4. Pack the shrimps into three ramekins and pour over the spicy butter. Bang them in the freezer for no more than 10 minutes – 5 are probably enough.
5. When the butter is hardened, warm the remaining clarified stuff and pour that over the top. Back in the freezer for another 5.
5. Serve with warm, non-buttered toast and a minor side salad if you must. I had to put my shrimps back in the oven for 30 seconds to encourage them to come out of their vessels.
Result? Tasted just like the delights you can get in a restaurant, but more of it!
No picture – we blatantly ate the lot.
*this is not scientific fact, just the part of my head that feels wonderful when I eat really nice olives, or potted shrimps.
**actually ‘fair enough’ wasn’t the thought. “Oh my god” was prevalent, followed by, “is there a discount if you get more than 100g?”