Potted prawns


  • 750g fresh cooked whole prawns or 400g prawn meat
  • 100g good quality butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace or nutmeg, ground (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or sweet paprika (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, ground (or to taste)
  • salt (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)


This recipe is based on Eliza Acton's 'Potted shrimps, or prawns', subtitled 'Delicious' (1855).

You can save quite a bit of time and energy by using a food processor, but at the expense of the properly melded texture achieved by pounding in a mortar. Cheat perhaps, giving yourself a head start with a quick pulse to start things along, and then proceed the traditional way, using mortar and pestle.


Peel and devein the prawns, then chop them finely. Pound them in a mortar and pestle with the spices and a quarter of the butter until smooth, adding more butter a tablespoon or so at a time, and lemon juice, if using. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Transfer the mixture to a small 'pot' or ramekin and garnish with a parsley leaf or sprinkle of cayenne or paprika.

Serve on crisp toast.
Cook's tip: the lemon juice helps cut the richness.

This recipe appeared in the post Perfectly potty, and potting perfectly on January 05, 2017.

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