Potted Crab or Lobster

Potting is an old way of preserving meat or fish. We all scoff rillettes or confit de canard with glee but forget our own heritage. Almost anything can be potted, and in Scotland the butcher’s shops sell potted hough which is potted shin of beef. I particularly like potted crab which I think makes an excellent starter or light lunch dish. Potted lobster I once served as the savoury of a rather elaborate dinner party I did for the London Evening Standard. It was very well received!


  • 3 cooked crabs or 2 lobsters
  • 115 g/4 oz clarified butter
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


Remove the meat from the shellfish. Keep any coral separate.

For potted crab: Melt half the butter in a frying pan, add the crab meat and mash with a fork. Add the mace and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Put into ramekin dishes, cover with the rest of the clarified butter and leave to set. Alternatively, melt all the butter, proceed as before and return the crab mixture to its shell. I prefer this as a main course for a light meal.

For potted lobster: Proceed as for crab but layer the coral and the meat in the ramekin dishes.