4.27.2009

seafood risotto for friends

seafood up-close I'm sure you know the story, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? And I'm not here to argue, but normally I create a dish and then write it down afterward, not the other way around. However, at the end of last week, I received an email from my friend Quan (who has the absolute-cutest baby), asking for a recipe, "Do you by chance have a good recipe for seafood risotto that you have tried out? I have one in a cookbook and I've been searching the internet and there are a few that I'm considering. I don't mind a bit of hard work to get a good risotto..." Loving a good challenge, I started to brainstorm. Then, he told me the most beautiful story about why he was searching for a recipe: "The best seafood risotto that I ever had was in Sorrento at a restaurant called Delfino's. It had everything I mentioned above but there were clams, bits of grilled swordfish and octopus instead of squid. It was quite the meal as we unknowingly found ourselves in the middle of the local festival to the patron saint Sant' Ana. After multiple shots of Limoncello and 2 litres of wine we found ourselves enjoying the evening festivities...30 minutes of non-stop fireworks. Ah...the memories." Doesn't that sound good??? I don't think this risotto will exactly create that spectacular memory, but here's to trying. Somehow, I set out to make up a risotto recipe on paper first, as there was no time to make it before he needed the recipe. I have to admit that I kinda imagined him wanting to make a beautiful dinner for his beautiful wife, and surprise her. Okay, he never told me this, but I felt obliged not to hold up the process! Since they have a baby, they obviously better things to do that to feel sad about making a terrible risotto! Somehow the pressure was mounting... Luckily, it worked out that I emailed the recipe, but still ended up making it before Quan did. I made it the next day. Luckily, I had a chance to fine-tune things. Thankfully, and happily, it turned out well and there weren't many things that needed tweaking. Phew! And even more luckily, they liked it!!! Stirring the risotto, gently with a flat-ended wooden-spoon. risotto bella risotto Cook fish from frozen? Jeff thought I was nuts, but I cooked all the seafood for the recipe from frozen, in the broth for the risotto, removing it when it was finished. The seafood was ridiculously tender, flavoured with saffron, and then the rice also had this lovely hint of the sea. lobster bath I used a lobster tail, calamari rings, scallops, and mussels. The scallops were huge, but are hiding in the dish. The lobster tail was a bit of a waste, as there was hardly any meat to eat. I did a "no-no" and bought mussels from New Zealand... "No-no" since they were shipped across the planet.... but they were fantastic. They came split apart, which was perfect for the dish, delish! seafood risotto & saffron Seafood Risotto with Saffron (generously serves 4) 1 medium onion, 1 cup diced 1 cup dry white wine 2 cups arborio rice 1.5 litres chicken/vegetable stock 2 tbsp butter 1 tsp saffron threads 3 medium carrots, finely diced Seafood - calamari rings, mussels, scallops. (Seafood- use what you like, and guesstimate amounts, it's okay. Buy frozen, don't defrost, it will add a lot of flavour. A bag of "mixed" seafood would be a good budget option. I already had the large scallops.) Salt Flat-leaf parsley 1. Dice the onion finely. 2. Heat 3 tbsp of butter in a large saute pan, until bubbling. Add the onion, and saute on medium high heat until translucent. Don't let it brown, reducing the temperature if necessary. Add a good pinch of salt. 3. Heat the stock on the back burner. Add the saffron, crumbling slightly. If using frozen seafood, add in the largest pieces first. Once cooked, it can be removed to prevent overcooking (or keep the heat low, if it is towards the end) 4. When the onion is pretty soft, stir in the rice. Stir with a wooden spoon, and heat through until somewhat clear (but don't toast it). It should get nice and thirsty. 5. Now it is time for the rice to get drunk....add the wine, and stir. 6. When the wine is cooked off, add the broth, ladle by ladle. After a couple ladle-fulls, add the diced carrots. 7. Keep adding the broth, until all absorbed by the rice, and then all the seafood should be in there too. Taste and adjust salt for seasoning. 8. Finely chop a little parsley for each plate. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil is nice. Now you're done! Don't add cheese. Thanks for the inspiration Quan, I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe!

19 comments:

Mark said...

This looks so good! I always cook something like this when it's cold and grey outside and I want lifting up and reminded of what the summer feels like. Scallops add a great texture and sweetness - they may be expensive but in something like this they are totally worth it!

Jenn said...

That risotto looks really delish for sunny day. The mixture of seafood on that is just wonderful!!

NIKKI said...

It looks absolutely divine. Good one!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

This risotto looks perfect. It is my favorite comfort food!

Jessie said...

what a festive dish! I love risotto as well, I've eaten it at restaurants but never made risotto at home.

HoneyB said...

Sounds and looks super delicious! We are big seafood fans!

Bond said...

I did an Asparagus Risotto and served it with seared scallops. The recipe is on Mangia Y'all this week

Jen said...

What an enchanting story Quan tells--no wonder you were inspired to create this delicious dish!

lk- Health yDelicious said...

omg this looks amazing!

Nate said...

Those are some seriously luscious-looking mussels there. I have a serious craving now.

It's funny, it must be risotto season or something, I made some with ramps just the other day!

Hillary said...

I love all the ingredients you used! Those mussels look fantastic!

gail said...

Glad you guys like it! I was pretty relieved that it did turn out - my fingers were crossed. Especially cooking the seafood from frozen....sounds so terribly bad...but works out just fine!

Olga said...

That looks absolutely DIVINE!!!! Just another reason I am not keeping kosher :)

The Duo Dishes said...

Mmmm mmm good. The scallops are the best part.

alice said...

This looks awesome. Complete indulgence.

Global Patriot said...

While I can't do the mussels (allergy) this recipe is a wonderful combination of flavors and textures, and I'm always ready to try risotto with safron!

Carolyn said...

I think seafood risotto has to be one of my favorite dishes - and this one looks deliciously prepared. thank you!

Dazy said...

I'm making this for dinner tonight. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!

sue said...

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