Potted Prawns

Recipes | Brunch | Pan-Frying | Potting | Sandwiches Serves 6 as an entrée Potted Prawns

A variation on French rillettes, terrines, pâté and confit, potting is an old English technique for preserving meat or seafood by storing it under a layer of fat. Most traditional recipes use boiled prawns, however frying them in spiced butter until they’re just cooked through gives a much tastier result, as does cooking the shells in the clarified butter. Of course you could use boiled prawns if you prefer and seal the pots with plain clarified butter. Remove the ramekins from the fridge 15-20 minutes before serving so the butter softens a little.


375g salted butter
1kg green Prawns, peeled, deveined, heads and shells reserved
½ teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt flakes, to taste
½ lemon, zested and juiced
Brown bread, toasted, for serving


Melt 250g of the butter over a low heat until the solids sink to the bottom, drain off the clear fat from the top discarding the solids that are left behind. Return butter to the saucepan, add prawn heads and shells and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes, until orange, crushing the shells with a wooden spoon or potato masher to extract as much flavour as possible. Strain off butter and discard solids.

Roughly chop prawn meat. Place remaining butter in a frying pan with mace, nutmeg and cayenne and melt over a low heat. When it starts to froth, increase heat to medium-high, add prawn meat and stir for a minute or 2 until just cooked. Remove from heat and stir in salt, lemon juice and zest. 

Pack prawns, with the cooking butter, tightly into 6 x 150ml ramekins. Smooth the top and spoon prawn-flavoured butter over to seal. Refrigerate for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.

Serve with brown toast triangles.

Alternative species:

Bugs, Crabs, Marron, Redclaw, Rock Lobsters, Yabby.

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