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
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
172 Calories
12g Fat
2g Carbs
14g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 172
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 7g 37%
Cholesterol 144mg 48%
Sodium 401mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 14g
Calcium 53mg 4%
*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 4 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 butter (unsalted; separated; you may need a bit more)
  • 1/2 lb. shrimp (peeled and cut into thirds)
  • 1/4 cup shallot (sliced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace (ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger (powdered)
  • 1 dash nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • 1 pinch salt (coarse, to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons sherry (dry)
  • 4 dashes hot sauce (Tabasco)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (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 - 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.)