Potted Shrimp: An English Canape

Potted shrimp, a British appetizer

Cultura RM/Diana Miller

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Chill 4 hours: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 1 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
184 Calories
13g Fat
4g Carbs
13g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 184
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 150mg 50%
Sodium 642mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 61mg 5%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 152mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A once-common feature at English Teas was a ramekin of seasoned shrimp or mushrooms—referred to as either potted shrimp or mushrooms. The main ingredient is cooked in butter, seasoned and then packed in butter (this is similar to the French confit). In addition to the rich flavor the butter brings, it also acts as a preservative so that potted shrimp can last as long as four weeks in the refrigerator. Potted shrimp makes a great canapé for a party, but also a great snack just waiting in the fridge. 


  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, divided

  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, cut into thirds

  • 1/4 cup sliced shallots

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 dash freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1 pinch coarse salt, to taste

  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry

  • 4 dashes hot sauce

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. In a heavy skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add shrimp, shallots, and sprinkle with spices. Stir to coat shrimp with butter and spices.

  2. Cook 1 minute then add sherry and cook until shrimp is just done and most of the sherry has evaporated—about another 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and add Tabasco and lemon juice. Process mixture in a food processor until it is finely chopped but not a paste—the texture of coarse sea salt. Taste and adjust seasonings.

  4. Melt remaining butter in the skillet over medium-low heat. When foaming subsides, remove skillet from heat and stir in shrimp mixture.

  5. Pack into a ramekin and if the liquid doesn't come to the top of the shrimp, add a bit more melted butter. Refrigerate at least 4 hours to let flavors meld.

  6. Allow to warm in an oven heated at 250 F for an hour before serving on crackers or slices of thin toast.

  7. This will keep three to four weeks refrigerated and can also be frozen. Eat with thin slices of toast or crackers. (We usually use Pepperidge Farm Very Thin White Bread, cut off the crusts, cut it into four pieces, and toast it.)