Potted Shrimps

An eighteenth-century recipe from a Suffolk manor. Shrimps, prawns or lobsters, crabs or crayfish may be prepared in this way.


  • about 1 lb. (½ k.) shelled shrimps or prawns or about 1 lb. (½ k.) lobster, crab or crayfish meat
  • ½ lb. (240 g.) butter
  • 1 teaspoon mace
  • ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper


Very finely chop half the shellfish. Leave the other half whole in the case of shrimps or small prawns, but divide large prawns, lobster, crayfish or crab into shrimp-size pieces.

Mix all together with the mace and ginger. Melt 6 oz. (180 g.) of the butter but do not let it boil. Stir into it the shellfish meat and then add salt and cayenne to taste. Stir over low heat till all the butter is absorbed into the mixture. Remove and press down into jars or moulds. Melt the rest of the butter and pour over tops while the fish mixture is still hot. Leave in refrigerator at least overnight before using. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 weeks and will deep-freeze perfectly for months. Turn out to serve, and cut in slices to be eaten with very hot toast.