I first had potted shrimp in a cafe in Cornwall and it was presented to me as tiny ruddy brown shrimp on brown bread. The presentation suffice to say unappealing. But I immediately fell in love with the idea of a sweetly spiced shrimp and butter. They are an unlikely duo , but one taste and you complete understand how they could easily be best friends. I have taken the savoury sweet classic potted shrimp preparation and used them as a layered base for an effortlessly easy cheese and egg soufflé. This recipe is a triple threat . It acts, sings and dances. In other words it is unexpectedly wonderful to eat, simple to prepare and looks like a million dollars. A breakfast or brunch showstopper.
For the shrimp
300g small shrimp
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Nutmeg
Large pinch white pepper
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Heat a skillet to medium high
Add in the butter and then the shrimp and then the rest of the ingredients
Toss to coat and cook tossing every 30 seconds or so for 3 minutes
Remove from heat to a bowl and set aside
For the soufflé
1 tbsp butter
200g brie ( or any soft mild cheese )
6 eggs separated
3 tbsp heavy cream
6 ramekins or an 8-10” tart dish
Preheat oven to 400F/200C
Butter the ramekins to cat sides and bottom.
Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender except the egg whites until frothy. About 30 seconds.
By hand with a whisk or with a mixer/whisk attachment beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold 1/3 of the whites into the yolk and cheese mixture , and then even more gently fold the remain whites into the mix.
Cover the bottom of the ramekins evenly with shrimp and then fill with the souflee mix right the the top . Use a spatula to even out the top of the souflee.
Place on a balking tray and bake for 9-10 minutes . Remove and serve immediately - remembering that soufflés have a showstopper moment only for a very short while before they start to fall .
Our Tudor inspiration :
“Potted” was clever Tudor way to cook and then preserve something in butter as way to exclude air from food so it would keep fresh unrefrigerated for a little longer. A savoury pie encased in a pastry crust performed the same function and is why methods such as potting and pies were so popular.
Meg Dods, author of the 1826 "Housewife's Manual," claimed that game "to be sent to distant places" would keep for a month if potted correctly.