Spiced potted shrimps with quick-pickled cucumber

  • Serves 8
  • Hands-on time 30 min, plus chilling
  • Easy
Festively spiced buttery shrimps pair perfectly with sweet and sharp cucumber in this recipe fit for any Christmas dinner party starter.

Nutritional info per serving

  • Calories553kcals
  • Fat53.2g (32.9g saturated)
  • Protein12g
  • Carbohydrates5.5g (5.5g sugars)
  • Fibre0.7g
  • Salt4.4g
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  • 500g butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 mace blades
  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped • 360g peeled brown shrimps
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Generous pinch grated nutmeg
  • Zest ½ lemon
  • Sourdough toast to serve

For the quick-pickled cucumbe

  • 30g caster sugar
  • 100ml cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds,
  • lightly crushed
  • 1 cucumber
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt

You'll also need...

  • 8 x 75ml dariole moulds or small ramekins (see tips)


  1. Put the butter, bay, mace and shallots in a medium saucepan and heat very gently over the lowest heat until the butter has melted. Cook for 4-5 minutes without letting it bubble – if it starts to bubble, move it half off the heat and swap the half every so often. Line a fine sieve with a double layer of muslin or 2 clean J-cloths and set over a measuring jug. Slowly strain the butter mixture through the sieve (discard the solids). Set aside the clarified butter in the jug.
  2. Toss the shrimps in a bowl with the cayenne, nutmeg, lemon zest and a little black pepper, then divide among 8 x 75ml dariole moulds or small ramekins (see tips). There should be around 45g mixture in each mould. Pour over the clarified butter, making sure all the shrimps are completely submerged. Leave to cool, then cover with cling film and chill (see Make Ahead). You’ll need to remove them from the fridge around 1 hour before you want to serve them.
  3. To make the quick-pickled cucumber, mix the sugar, vinegar and lightly crushed mustard seeds in a bowl until the sugar has almost dissolved. Finely slice the cucumber into long slices or ribbons using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, then toss through the vinegar mixture along with the sea salt. Chill for 30 minutes to 1½ hours, tossing occasionally, until the cucumber tastes sharp-sweet. Drain the cucumber, squeezing out and discarding most of the excess liquid.
  4. Once the potted shrimps have had time to come to room temperature, heat the oven briefly, then put the potted shrimps inside for around 1 minute – the idea is to melt just a little of the butter. Turn out onto plates (see tips), then serve with the pickled cucumber and slices of toasted sourdough.
  • We used 75ml metal dariole or pudding moulds, from cook shops and lakeland. co.uk. If you can only get the 125ml ones, either make 6 portions instead of 8, or don’t fill the moulds to the top. If you use ramekins instead, you may find it easier not to turn them out.
  • The potted shrimps will keep chilled for up to 5 days or, if they haven’t been previously frozen (check with your fishmonger), cover in cling film and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost, then warm to serve.
  • Chill a young, refreshing white bordeaux to enjoy with these.

From November 2015

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