Quarantine Kitchen: A NC-inspired crab recipe from Saltbox Seafood Joint

by | Dec 3, 2020

This year has been full of unprecedented times and situations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many families and individuals will be cooking at home this holiday season. That’s why we are bringing the dishes to you all month long in our Quarantine Kitchen series. We talked to twenty-three chefs who willingly shared some of their favorite dishes to prepare for the holidays. Stay tuned Dec. 1 through 24 on the blog as well as our social media channels for a new dish to feature in your home each day and let’s get cooking!

Located in Durham, N.C., Saltbox Seafood Joint offers two locations serving local, fresh seafood. Chef Ricky Moore draws inspiration from the classic American fish camps and waterside seafood shacks. He shares with us his recipe for Potted Crab “Oriental” with herbs and salted butter.

“Oriental is a town 20 miles east of where I grew up,” said Moore. “They were known to have the best crab meat in the area and one of the only crab picking houses still in operation. If we did not catch our own crabs we drove to Oriental to get a few bushels. This dish can be a wonderful beginning to a dinner or a great addition to a picnic or potluck feeding. At room temperature it spreads nicely, and the butter adds a rich texture.”

Potted Crab “Oriental” with Herbs and Salted Butter


• 11 ounces fresh backfin crabmeat
• 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
• 1 tablespoon lemon, juice freshly squeezed
• 1 tablespoon shallots, very finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon tarragon, finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
• ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
• A pinch of mace, freshly grated
• 4 ounces salted butter, melted
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a bowl mix the crabmeat, crème fraîche, lemon juice, shallots, tarragon, flat leaf parsley, cayenne pepper and half the melted butter. Then add the mace, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well to combine.
  2. Spoon this mixture into six 4-ounce crocks or clamp-style mason jars, then pour over a thin layer of the rest of the melted butter. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper, salt and fresh herbs on top.
  3. Transfer the potted crabs to a fridge to set, and leave for an hour.
  4. Remove them from the fridge about 15 minutes before serving. Serve with thinly sliced toasted bread, crackers or country flat cornbread.

More of Chef Moore’s recipes can be found in his book Saltbox Seafood Joint, which was published last year. The book includes sixty recipes that celebrate Chef Moore’s coastal culinary heritage.

Readers will also learn how to pan-fry and deep-fry, grill and smoke, and cook up soups, chowders, stews, and grits and seafood. Charts and illustrations in the book explain the featured types, availability, and cuts of fish and shellfish used in the recipes.