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Seafood risotto

seafood risotto

This is made with a super-duper crab stock, with a very intense flavour and is quite time-consuming to prepare. If you want to cut down the work, or have a lighter-flavoured stock, replace with fish stock, enriched with a little tomato puree and white wine.


The recipe is adapted from one of Stephen Markwick's, of Culinaria, in Bristol.


Serves six as a starter


For the stock

1 large crab shell (keep the meat for the risotto)

a few cloves of garlic

1 stick celery

1 carrot

500ml white wine

1.5 litres water (or fish stock)

1 tbsp tomato puree

about 20g butter

a little olive oil

1 tsp fennel seeds


For the risotto

900ml fish or crab stock

250g carnaroli or arborio rice

50g butter

100ml white wine

1 small onion

1 small leek

1 small fennel bulb

zest and juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp mascapone

about 50g white crab meat, cooked (or other shellfish)

6 large scallops, sliced into 3 discs each.

chopped chives


Pre heat the oven to 220°C.


To make the stock, break the crab shell into pieces and put into a roasting tin. Roast dry for about 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, dice the vegetables finely, melt the oil and butter in a large pan and fry the vegetables until softened. Add the fennel seeds, tomato puree and roasted crab shell and cook, covered, for around 10 minutes.


Add the wine and water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer very gently for about one and half / two hours. Strain through a very fine sieve or muslin cloth. Return to the pan and reduce by about half. You should have about 900-1000ml at the end. Add the lemon zest to the stock and keep it at a simmer.


For the risotto, chop the vegetables finely, melt the butter in a large pan and saute lightly until softened. Add the rice and stir thoroughly until the grains are well coated in butter. Pour in the white wine and stir until absorbed.


Add the hot stock, a ladle at a time, stirring continuously and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful. It should take around 15-20 minutes in total. Check the rice is cooked, you want it to have a little bite to it, but not to be chalky. If the stock has run out but the rice is not cooked enough, add a little more wine to the pan.


Stir in the mascapone, taste, season and add lemon juice as required - you may not need it all. Add the crab meat and stir in gently. Leave to stand in a warm place.


Heat a frying pan over a high heat and melt a little butter in it. Fry the scallop discs for just a few seconds each side until golden brown.


Serve the risotto topped with three scallop discs per plate and scattered with chopped chives.



Photo by Per Magnus Persson


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