Potted shrimp is a concept which knows its origins in the North-West of England. It normally sees shrimps added to a pot before nutmeg seasoned melted butter is poured over them to cover and the combination is left to set. Like so many food creations of yesteryear, this idea evolved as a preservation technique with the fat keeping the shrimps fresh and edible for longer. In this potted shrimp variation, a stock laced with gelatin is used instead of the butter to help create very different flavors and textures, as well as a dish considerably lower in fat and cholesterol.

Potted Shrimp
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potted shrimp four different ways

A simple fish stock would work very well in this recipe but the stock used in this instance was lobster stock which had been reserved and frozen following the earlier preparation of Potted Lobster Tail. The potting accompaniment ingredients are almost infinitely variable and these ideas could simply be viewed as suggestions rather than a hard and fast recipe guide.

Brown Shrimp
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Cooked brown shrimp

To make these four little potted shrimp pots, I used 4 ounces (¼ pound) of precooked brown shrimp and four, three inch diameter porcelain ramekins. The first step was to divide the shrimp in to the required portions. Instead of four equal parts, I wanted one of the pots to have twice as much as the other three as this pot was simply going to include the shrimp, some stock and seasoning with no further additions.

Shrimp Portions
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Shrimp are measured out in desired portions

The best way to measure out the shrimp is to actually use the ramekins in which they will subsequently be potted. It is also easier if you have the shrimp and accompaniments ready to go before you start preparing the stock and gelatin.

Plain Potted Shrimp

Plain Potted Shrimp
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Shellfish are seasoned with basil and pepper

Put the measured out shrimp in to a small bowl. Add a generous pinch of dried basil and black pepper. Stir carefully but well and return to the ramekin.

Chinese Themed Potted Shrimp

Crustaceans - more particularly prawns - are very popular in Chinese cuisine so this simple yet tasty Oriental twist worked very well.

Spice, Pak Choi and Onion
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Chinese 5 spice, pak choi and onion

As well as the shrimp, this combination calls for one small pak choi (Chinese cabbage) leaf, quarter a small onion and a generous pinch of Chinese 5 spice.

Mixing Chinese Shrimp
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Mixing Chinese variation ingredients

Finely dice the pak choi leaf and onion and place them in a small bowl along with the shellfish. Season with the 5 spice and stir to combine.

Indian Themed Potted Shrimp

Indian Themed Potted Shrimp
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Indian themed variety

This spicy variety of the concept was prepared with the simple addition of a couple of traditional Indian cooking ingredients.

Red Chili and Cilantro
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Red chili half and cilantro

You will need half a medium sized red chili or a whole small one, a teaspoon of freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaf) and some black pepper.

Chili, Cilantro and Shrimp
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Chili, cilantro and seasoning are added to the bowl

Remove the seeds and membrane from the half chili and finely dice before stirring together with the shrimp, cilantro and black pepper.

Spanish Themed Potted Shrimp

Spanish Themed Potted Shrimp
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Spanish themed potted shrimp

In keeping with the established international theme, this variation has a distinctly Spanish twist.

Bell Peppers and Paprika
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Bell pepper slices and paprika

You will need a one inch wide strip of red bell pepper, the same quantity of yellow pepper and about quarter a teaspoon of paprika.

Spanish Ingredients
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Combining Spanish option ingredients

Finely dice the pepper strips and mix them in a bowl with the shrimp and paprika.

Shrimp Pots
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Shrim pots ready for their jelly

When the ramekins were refilled with the shrimp and their accompaniments, they were sat on a holding plate for later transfer to the fridge.

How to Make the Fish Stock Jelly

Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Leaf gelatin

Gelatin comes in powdered/crystalline and leaf form. If using the leaf gelatin as in this instance, you will probably need to soak the leaves briefly in cold water before use. Check the pack for guidance. You also want to use a little bit extra for your quantity of liquid than the instructions recommend to ensure a good set. Roughly a quarter to a third again is ideal.

Lobster Stock
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Lobster stock

Pour a half pint of stock in to a saucepan and heat until it just begins to simmer. Take it off the heat before you add the gelatin. If the gelatin boils, it may not set properly. When you do add the gelatin, stir and keep stirring until you can see it is all dissolved. Leave for about fifteen minutes to partly cool. You don't want it so hot that it further cooks the shrimp but equally, you don't want it starting to set before it is poured in to the ramekins.

Pour the stock in to a jug (to make it easier to add to the ramekins) and fill each ramekin up almost but not quite to the top, ensuring all solid parts are covered. Place in your fridge for a minimum two or three hours until set. Overnight is better.

Serving Suggestions

Plain Potted Shrimp with Toast

Potted Shrimp with Toast
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Basic version of potted shrimp with toast

Hot buttered toast is a very simple but popular accompaniment to potted shrimp and it was in this way the plain shrimp was served.

Shrimp on Toast
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Jellied shrimp are spooned on to toast

Simply make the toast, butter it and use a teaspoon to spoon little amounts of the shrimp at a time on to the toast to form a mouthful.

Chinese Themed Potted Shrimp with Prawn Crackers

Chinese Potted Shrimp Prawn Crackers
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Prawn crackers sserved with Chinese themed potted shrimp

Prawn crackers are popular accompaniments to virtually any type of Chinese meal but are also excellent served with dips, or as in this case, the Chinese themed shrimp pot.

Prawn Crackers
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Supermarket pack of prawn crackers

These prawn crackers were bought from a supermarket in a foil pack but they could also be bought from a Chinese restaurant.

Shrimp on Cracker
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Chinese themed shrimp on prawn cracker

A little amount is spooned on to each cracker before the cracker is popped whole in to the mouth.

Indian Themed Shrimp with Naan Breads

Shrimp and Naan Bread
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Naan bread and Indian themed shrimp

There are a variety of Indian breads which could be made to accompany the Indian spiced shrimp. Breads such as chapatis or parathas would work very well but naan was the option chosen in this instance.

Naan Bread
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Naan bread

These supermarket bought mini naan breads were available in a variety of flavors, with garlic and cilantro (coriander) being the option chosen.

Shrimp on Naan
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Spicy jellied crustaceans are spooned on to naan bread

A couple of naan breads were heated by following the instructions on the pack before being halved and served alongside the shrimp pot.

Spanish Themed Potted Shrimp on Spicy Potato Cakes

Shrimp on Potato Cakes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Spanish themed jellied shrimp on spicy potato cakes

This serving suggestion requires a bit more preparation time but proved more than worth the effort. These little spicy potato cakes are based very loosely on a Spanish tortilla which sees chunks of potato and onion set in a thick omelet.

Potato Onion and Chili
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato, onion and red chili

To make the potato cakes, you will need one medium baking potato, one small onion, one medium size and strength red chili, one small egg, salt and pepper.

Grated Potato
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Grated potato

Start by peeling the potato and coarsely grating it in to the center of a clean dishtowel.

Squeezing Potato

Squeezing excess water from grated potato

Gather up the edges of the dishtowel to enclose the potato and take it to your sink. Squeeze as much of the water out of the potato as you can. This is essential or the water will escape during cooking and prevent your cakes from setting.

Potato Cake Ingredients
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Assembled potato cake ingredients

Put the potato in to a large bowl. Peel and finely dice the onion before adding it to the bowl with the seeded and finely diced chili. Break in the egg and season with salt and pepper.

Potato Cakes Batter
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Spicy potato cakes batter

Mix the ingredients together very well with a wooden spoon until everything is fully combined.

Frying Potato Cakes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Starting to fry potato cakes

Pour enough olive oil in to a non-stick pan or skillet to cover the base and bring it up to a medium to high heat. Use a large spoon to add the batter in two portions to the pan. In the early stages of cooking, some of the egg may leak from the cakes but this can be eased back in to the main bodies with the edge of a spatula. Fry for five or six minutes on a medium heat.

Turned Potato Cakes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato cakes are turned to fry on their second sides

After five or six minutes, turn the cakes carefully with your spatula and fry for a similar length of time on the second sides.

Plated Potato Cakes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Potato cakes are laid on serving plate

Lift the cooked potato cakes briefly to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain before transferring them to a serving plate.

Spooning Shrimp on to Potato Cakes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Shrimp is spooned on to potato cakes

Half the pot of Spanish themed shrimp can be spooned and spread on to each warm cake.

Eating Shrimp on Potato Cakes
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Enjoying potted shrimp on potato cakes