POTTED PRAWNS

Cuisine - - PREVIEW -

SERVES 2-4

150g but­ter ½ tea­spoon ground mace a few grat­ings of nut­meg 2 pinches of white pep­per pinch of cayenne pep­per 150g cooked, peeled and de­veined prawns dill sprigs and whole­meal toast, to serve

Melt the but­ter in a small saucepan and when it just starts to bub­ble, take it off the heat and wait for a minute to al­low the milk solids to set­tle on the bot­tom of the pan. Now, very care­fully pour off the top layer (the clear liq­uid, AKA clar­i­fied but­ter) into a heat­proof bowl. Skim any white stuff from the sur­face, then clean the pan and pour the clar­i­fied but­ter back into it – you should be left with about two-thirds the amount of but­ter you started with. Add the mace, nut­meg and both pep­pers and set the pan over the low­est pos­si­ble heat to let the flavours in­fuse for a cou­ple of min­utes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Mean­while, chop the prawns quite finely – you want a sim­i­lar tex­ture to coarse mince. Stir the prawns into the but­ter, then spoon into four 100ml ramekins, or two slightly larger ones, squash­ing them down a bit so as to have as lit­tle wasted space as pos­si­ble. Pour any clar­i­fied but­ter still in the pan over the prawns to cover. In the days when food was potted for more prac­ti­cal rea­sons than ‘this is go­ing to be de­li­cious with Cham­pagne’, a thick layer of but­ter would have been es­sen­tial to keep air out, and so pre­vent spoilage of the food­stuff be­neath. But thanks to re­frig­er­a­tion, there’s no need to worry if the odd bit of prawn is pok­ing out. Leave to cool for about 20 min­utes, then sprin­kle with cayenne and re­frig­er­ate for up to 2 days. When your guests ar­rive, give the ramekins a few min­utes out of the fridge to soften the but­ter slightly. Gar­nish with dill sprigs, then serve with tri­an­gles of brown toast.

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