Potted prawns


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Home Made

By Yvette van Boven

Published 2011

  • About

Just like goose fat for duck confit, butter works as a preservative for the prawns. Peeling them is a little bit of a chore, but you will need the shells to flavour the butter. Look at it as a relaxing job.

We used to like eating this in Ireland and in our restaurant it is also often served as lunch or appetiser.

You can keep the potted prawns in the refrigerator at least 10 days.


  • 500 g (1 lb) unpeeled prawns (shrimp)
  • 250 g (8 oz/2 sticks) butter
  • 2 blades mace (or pinch of ground mace)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (to taste), use ground paprika if you don’t like it hot
  • pinch of nutmeg


Peel the prawns. Initially it’s a little bit trial and error, but later you will get the hang of it. First break off the head, pull up the first shell near the legs in order for the prawn flesh to become visible. Hold between thumb and index finger. Now you can easily remove the tail. Reserve half the shells from the prawns. Crush them briefly, with a rolling pin for example, thoroughly breaking them. Melt the butter with the prawn shells, mace, cayenne pepper and nutmeg. Leave the mixture to simmer on very low heat for 20 minutes and strain over a bowl. With the back of a spoon, press all the juice from the shells. Return the collected juices to the pan. Add the prawn meat and season with salt and pepper. The prawns will be cooked in a jiffy in the hot butter. You can leave the heat off. Pour the mixture into small single portion jars or bowls and ensure that the prawns are fully covered with butter. Then leave to set in the refrigerator.

Before serving we briefly place the jars in a pan of hot water, thus slightly melting the butter and the prawns can be easily spooned from the semi-hard butter.

We serve potted prawns with two lemon segments, thin slices of brown toast and a green salad with watercress, rocket (arugula) and/or butter lettuce. Sprinkle some sea salt on the salad.