Potted crab

Wonderfully rich and delicious, Tamasin Day Lewis's recipe is one of the best ways of eating crab
By Tamasin Day-Lewis
Potted crab
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 400 g unsalted butter
  • blade of mace
  • good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • cayenne pepper
  • 500 g fresh crab meat
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • freshly ground salt and black pepper
  • hot wholemeal toast, to serve

Tips and Suggestions

The ramekins should be removed from the fridge 20 minutes or so before you make the toast so that they are cold but not fridge-cold


1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2.

2. Gently heat 225g of the butter in a small saucepan until just beginning to foam. Pour through a muslin-lined sieve into a bowl, leaving behind the residue of milky, curd-like solids.

3. Stir the spices into the clarified butter. Add the white crabmeat, amalgamate well, and taste. You should have a breath of spiced warmth from the cayenne but not full-scale heat, Adjust accordingly, then add a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Fill each ramekin with a layer of the buttered white crabmeat, followed by a layer of brown meat. Finish with another layer of white meat. There should be just enough room left at the top of the ramekin for a final layer of clarified butter, which is added after the crab is poached.

5. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan, and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up their sides. Place in the oven for 25 minutes.

6. Remove the pan from the oven. Place the ramekins on a wire cooling rack and leave to cool.

7. Clarify the rest of the butter as in step 2. Pour enough into each ramekin to cover the crabmeat like sealing wax. Leave until completely cool, then put in the fridge to chill.

8. To turn out, slip a slim knife blade all the way around the girth of each ramekin right to the bottom Turn out onto the palm of your hand. Place butter side up on individual plates and serve with triangles of wholemeal toast.

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