Spiced Potted Shrimp
In the history of British cuisine, potting perishable foods — that is, sealing ingredients in a crock under a thin layer of clarified butter — was a way to preserve them. Thanks to modern refrigeration, preservation is no longer the point, but luscious, buttery potted dishes are still popular throughout Britain. Here, diced shrimp are aggressively seasoned with anchovy, celery seed, lemon zest and garlic before being sealed into ramekins. Potted shrimp is a very rich dish, best served in small quantities with hot toast on the side to melt the solidified butter back into a creamy sauce. Or, scoop out the shrimp and butter and mix it with hot pasta to create an instant scampi-like dish.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 1 ½cups unsalted butter (3 sticks)
- 4anchovy fillets, chopped
- 2teaspoons fresh thyme or lemon thyme, minced, more for garnish
- ½teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon mace (or nutmeg)
- ¼teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch cayenne
- Pinch celery seed
- 1pound peeled shrimp, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1garlic clove, grated on a Microplane or minced
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Tabasco, for serving
- Hot toast, for serving
Step 1Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Let cook, skimming the foam off the top of the butter, until the white milk solids fall to the bottom of the pan. Carefully pour about half the clarified butter into a measuring cup with a spout and set aside. Leave remaining butter and all those milk solids in the skillet.
Step 2Add anchovy, thyme, lemon zest, mace, salt, pepper, cayenne and celery seed to skillet. Stir in shrimp and cook over medium heat until pink, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in garlic.
Step 3Divide shrimp among 8 ramekins, top with the remaining herbed butter from the skillet and chill until set, about 1 hour.
Step 4Pour reserved clarified butter on top and chill until set, about 15 minutes, or up to 5 days (or freeze for up to 1 month). Remove ramekins from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes to 1 hour before serving with lemon wedges, Tabasco and hot toast.