Saturday, August 27, 2011

Seafood Risotto

We made Jessica's shrimp tostadas the night before I made this one.  The leftover shrimp shells, along with some grape tomatoes and basil from our friend Kurtis were the inspiration for it.  Jessica has taught me a few tricks about cooking risotto.  Key is that you have keep stirring and let the liquid reduce all the way out before adding more but without burning the rice.  As far as this recipe goes, its one I came up with using a few ingredients and tequniques I am familiar with and a couple new ideas for me (frying basil for one)

Grape Tomatos
Shrimp and enough shells to make stock
Arborio Rice
Chicken Stock
Mascarpone cheese
Red Pepper flakes
Pine nuts
butter and oil

1. Heat chicken stock in a saucepan with chopped jalapeno, shrimp shells and lemon juice.  Broth should be spicy and salty from the shells with a lemony finish.  Stain stock and keep warm. 
2. Begin rendering bacon fat on low heat.
3. Start arborio rice in oil and butter on medium low heat.   Add some bacon fat if desired. Toast for 3-5 minutes.
4.  Begin ladling stock into risotto and stirring rice.  Continue until rice is al dente, 25-35 minutes.
5.  While rice cooks preheat oven to 375. Prep tomatoes and shrimp.  In separate pans season with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add red pepper flakes to shrimp.  Roast shrimp for about 8 mins (depening on size) and tomatoes for 8-10 until they burst in your mouth but before they pop.
6.  Heat canola oil in saucepan.
7. Toast pine nuts in dry pan.  (no oil or butter, just until they are warm and golden brown)
8.  Grate Parmesan.  Remove mascarpone from fridge. 
9. Season scallops with salt and pepper. 
10.  Once bacon is rendered remove from pan.  We just want the fat for this dish, so feed to your doggies if you have them.  Heat bacon fat till pan is smoking hot.  Sear scallops till golden brown about 2 minutes then turn flip over reduce pan heat to medium and cook for about another two minutes and finish with fresh lemon juice. 
11.  Add grated Parmesan and about one spoonful of mascarpone per serving to arborio rice.  Stir and taste.  Remove from heat.
12.  Deep fry whole basil leaves in canola oil.  About 30 seconds is all you need.  Set basil on dry towel.
13.  Plate risotto. Then scallops, shrimp and tomatoes.  Sprinkle pine nuts over top, then additional lemon juice or broth if desired and finally deep fried basil leaves.  Enjoy.

The dish should have a subtle but consistent spiciness from the broth but not overwhelming a more consistent seafood flavor.  The idea behind all the garnishes is not to bury the rice but to provide texture, vibrancy and color to the plate.  Fried basil is a winner in this one.  If I were going to leave an ingredient out it would be the bacon or the pine nuts.  If I were going to add an ingredient it would be lobster... Of course!  I would chop up the claw meat and mix it in with rice at the end of cook and then butter poach the tail and plate it on top alongside the scallops and shrimp.  Jessica's the big lobster fan around so if we make this one when she's home we'll do it that way... Let me know what you think or if you decide to try out this recipe at home...

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