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Noto crab butter.

Noto's crab butter

Stuart Ralston, the chef behind the newly opened Lyla in Edinburgh, shares a crowd-pleasing recipe from Noto, another of his restaurants in the city. The recipe also features in his cookbook, Catalogued Ideas and Random Thoughts.

10 October, 2023
Average: 4 (7 votes)

serves for



Crab butter
30g/1 oz, picked white meat
Cultured butter
35g/1.2 oz
Unsalted butter
35g/1.2 oz
10g/0.35 fl oz
Lemon juice
2-3 drops
Dill oil
Fresh dill
100g/3.5 oz, picked
100g/3.5 oz, fresh and picked
Pomace oil

The signature dish of Noto and definitely the simplest thing we have ever served. This is something I could eat forever. When I am really hungry, I crave this taste. It’s pure seafood indulgence and a really humble ingredient – very affordable but very luxurious at the same time.

Step 01

For the crab

Cook live crabs in boiling salted water for 8 minutes per kg, remove from water and allow to cool on a tray. I prefer not to ice them but it’s important to refrigerate once cooled down, ideally within 30 minutes.

Crack the crabs and remove all white meat from claws, legs, and head (retain crab heads if you want for serving); pick 3 times to ensure no shell or cartilage is remaining.

Use within a couple of days. If you prefer, you can use pre-picked crab meat, but preferably it should be unpasteurised.

To clean the crab heads, remove all internal parts and scrub clean then boil in vinegar water before rinsing and using sharp scissors to trim the outer edges of the shells.

Step 02

For the dill oil

Blanch the herbs in boiling salted water, and cool in an ice bath.

Squeeze out the herbs to remove all excess water and roughly chop. Put the herbs and oil in a blender (preferably Thermomix) and blend for 5 minutes on high.

Immediately transfer to a strainer lined with a j-cloth or muslin towel.

Allow the oil to drain through until only the herb residue remains in the j-cloth, approximately 1.5 hours. Refrigerate, keep for 5 days, freeze for I month.

Step 03

For the crab butter

Gently warm the crab with the butter, taking care not to split the butter with excessive heat, and season as necessary.

Step 04

To assemble

Serve the crab butter in the cleaned crab heads if you prefer, with dill oil drizzled on top. Eat and enjoy.

Noto Crab butter



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