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Mash the clean shrimp very fine in a big bowl with a potato masher, and add the onion as you do it. When you can mash no more, pour in the melted butter, mixing it thoroughly. Add the lemon juice and mayonnaise, and continue to pound it. It will be a stiff paste. Season it highly: if you plan to use it within two days use fresh herbs at your discretion, but if you will be keeping it in the icebox use powdered condiments.
Pack the mixture into a mold, and press it down well. Chill it for at least twelve hours in an icebox. When you are ready to serve, turn it out and slice it thin with a sharp hot knife. [I used to eat potted shrimps by the scoopful, in a small swank restaurant in London. They were shelled, whole and tiny, held firmly together in a little fat jar by an aromatic butter. I should think San Francisco’s “bay shrimps” would be almost as good for such a forthright accessory to the pleasures of the table ... but the shrimps must indeed be tiny, no longer than a bee, no thicker than a violet’s stem.]