Friday, December 31, 2010

Lobster Risotto

There are some dishes that take a long time to make but they are worth it, this is one of them. If you had the stock prepared a day in advance the dish only takes 20 minutes to make. If you like prawns and other crustaceans then you would love lobster. Restaurants would charge up to €35 per kilo for lobster so it is real treat. The key to any of my recipes is to have as much of the preparation done in advance. This way you will enjoy the finished result more.

If you were preparing risotto in a restaurant environment stop cooking the risotto after 12 minutes and place the contents onto a large baking sheet and spread the mixture out flat and place into the fridge to go cold. This can only be done on the day of eating. Finish the cooking process when the order is called in.

The Pernod is a classic combination in most fish sauces as it leaves a lovely background aniseed flavour. You can leave out if you don't like the flavour.

Lobster Risotto

by Trevor Thornton

Serves 2

Difficulty Moderate

lobster meat from 1 lobster
lobster head, tail and arm shells from 1 lobster

Lobster Stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 large onion, skin removed and roughly chopped
2-3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped skin on
1 shot of Pernod or Pastis or Ricard
1 glass of dry white wine
1 liter of water
handful of fresh thyme (optional)
handful of fresh flat leaf parsley (optional)

1 tbps olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 medium onion, skin removed and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, skin removed and finely chopped
75g Arborio or Carnaroli risotto rice
1 glass dry white wine
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 handfuls of parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
1 tsp truffle oil (optional)
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley (optional)


To make the lobster stock place a large saucepan over a medium high heat and add the oil, lobster head, arm and tail shell to the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the carrot, onion and celery to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes to soften them up. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the Pernod and white wine and reduce the liquid by half. Using a large spoon crush the lobster shells to release all the flavour. Add the water and the herbs if using. Simmer the stock for 20 minutes and then turn off the heat. The longer you leave the stock the better flavour you will release from the lobster shell. Try to leave it a minimum 2 hours. Pass the stock through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan keeping the liquid. Discard everything else. You should end up with almost 1 litre of stock.

For the risotto reheat the lobster stock in a small saucepan and have it beside you when you are making the risotto. Place a clean saucepan over a medium high heat and add the oil and butter. When the butter starts to foam add the onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onions have turned translucent. Add the risotto rice and stir for 2 minutes to absorb all the cooking oil. Add the wine and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add a ladle full of the stock and continue to stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat this procedure until 17 minutes has passed. You need to continuously stir the risotto as this is how the starch molecules break down and you end up with a creamy risotto but without any cream.

Add the lobster meat, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste, truffle oil and parsley is using. At this stage your risotto should be almost fully cooked. The rice grains should have a very slight bite to them. Also when you lift up a spoon of risotto and turn the spoon upside down it should drop off the spoon easily and settle back into the saucepan. If the risotto is to loose cook until more liquid evaporates. If it is too thick add more stock or water to loosen. The whole process should take 18 to 20 minutes.

Serve the risotto in a warm bowl or plate and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil for a richer finish.

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