This delicious recipe by celeb chef Phil Vicker makes the perfect starter. For this simple potted prawns recipe it’s best to buy tiger prawns with their shells on because the flesh is much firmer. Another thing we think makes a big difference is using freshly grated nutmeg, it has a much more powerful flavour and is tastier too. This dish is best served slightly warm so that you can almost spread the butter. Put the mixture in a bowl and place in the microwave on defrost for 1 to 2 minutes to soften, or leave at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
- 225g (8oz) unsalted butter
- 4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ½tsp freshly grated mace
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- 300g (10½oz) tiger prawns, with the shells on
- 2tbsp olive oil
- zest and juice 1 lemon
- malted bread or Melba toast, for serving
In a pan, melt 25g (1oz) butter and fry the shallots, garlic, nutmeg, mace and cayenne together for 3 minutes or until soft. Set aside. Peel the prawns and cut each one into 3 pieces. In a separate pan, melt the rest of the butter very slowly for about 10 minutes until it separates, then set aside for 5 minutes
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a wok, season the prawns with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until they turn pink. Be careful not to overcook them or you’ll lose their delicate texture.
In a large bowl, mix together the shallot mixture, prawns, lemon zest and juice and stir well. Season again.
Add the melted butter to the mixture, leaving behind as much of the whey (the thinner liquid) as possible. Stir well, transfer to a serving bowl and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Put the bowl in the middle of the table and let people help themselves. Serve with malted brown bread toast or Melba toast (see Chef’s Secrets).
Top Tip for making Phil Vickery’s Salt and Pepper Potted Prawns
You can serve the Salt and Pepper Potted Prawns with ordinary toast, although Melba toast looks so good. Here’s how to make Melba toast: toast a few slices of medium-sliced bread on both sides under the grill, then cut off the crusts. Cut the bread horizontally to make two thinner slices. Cool slightly, then rub the untoasted sides together to remove loose crumbs. Cut the slices in half diagonally to make triangles, then place under the grill, untoasted-side up, and grill until golden.