I think sometimes I love things like crab and lobster more the second day, when I get to mess around with the leftover meat and be all creative and pretend i'm an Iron Chef (in my head). Okay, not that Iron Chef part. That would be silly!
Anyway, we had some crab parts left after Friday's seafood feast…
And all that broth from cooking the crabs in the first place…
(And all those shells. It's finally summer weather here – 80s or more and not raining every second of the day. Which means that if we put these shells out in the trash bin on Friday, by our trash pick-up day on Wednesday, the neighbors would all be in the hospital from the stench and there'd be multiple lawsuits against us for nasal pollution. Or at least they would glare at us a lot. So we put all the clam, crab, conch and (later) lobster shells in a thick trash bag and put that in the freezer downstairs. It'll keep it unscented til trash day.)
Okay, so we've got crab stock and leftover crab meat (well, once I picked it from the shells),
and a tiny bit of lobster meat that was already out of the shell. (I saved the rest of the leftover lobster for another night.)
Sounds like it's time to make risotto.
I picked out the meat from the crab shells, and added the lobster meat – so I had about a cup and a quarter of meat. You could, of course, use more if you wanted to.
I also thought I'd add corn (which is leftover corn I'd frozen from this other day of feasting), because it goes so nicely with crab and lobster.
And while I was getting all this ready, Bill was outside in one of the gardens, thinning the new crop of scallions. He brought in the excess, and I chopped them up and tossed them into the bowl with the seafood.
And…two cups of Arborio rice, a nice warm pot of some of that crab stock, and a big pan with some butter to kick things off.
I melted the butter in the pan and added a big clove of garlic (minced) to the butter.
Oh, the smell was heavenly already.
After the garlic had softened a bit, I added in the rice and stirred it around for a bit to coat each grain with the garlic butter . When the grains were translucent, I poured in a slug of white wine (it was a Chenin Blanc – use whatever you like to drink), stirred it around some more til the wine was mostly absorbed, and then added in the first ladleful of crab stock.
From that point on, it's basically stir, stir, stir, add a bit of stock, stir, stir, stir. Slowly. Slow-Ly. Allowing time in between each addition of liquid for the rice to absorb the previous round of stock.
It's a labor of love.
Of course, while I was stirring the rice, I was also trying to do something else…what was I doing? Oh, yea, slicing zucchini so I could fry that up for dinner as well.
So for me it was pour, stir stir stir, slice slice slice, stir stir, pour…like that. Just in case you're looking to copy the rhythm in my kitchen EXACTLY.
So we're stirring, stirring, stirring…
According to the package of rice, and according to books and people on tv, it takes somewhere around 20 minutes to go from hard grains of rice to perfectly creamy risotto. So at around the fifteen minute mark I start chewing a couple of rice grains every now and then to check the texture. Ideally the rice should be al dente, just like pasta. Soft, but with a little bit of a "bite" to it. To be honest, I've never really paid attention to how long it takes. I just keep checking the rice, and when it's done, it's done.
And when this batch of rice was done, I stirred in the corn (which was still a bit frozen), and when the corn was completely thawed and warmed up to the same temp as the rice, I added in the crab and lobster meat, the scallions and some salt and pepper.
Oh, yeah, and like I said earlier, while the risotto-making was going on, I was also frying up some zucchini. I coated it like the squash blossoms – first in flour, then in egg, and then in a 3:1 mixture of panko and flour.
When the zucchini was finished, dinner was served.
Everyone liked the risotto – even Alex, who hasn't always liked it. I think the crab stock flavor is what hooked him. The whole thing tastes like crab, which, I think, for Alex, kind of overshadowed the creamy texture that he actually doesn't really like usually.
Anyway, that's the story of the risotto.
And for a change, I also kept track of quantities, so here's the ingredient list if you're interested:
4 T butter (you could also use olive oil – I like butter with seafood)
1 very large clove of garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
Approx 8 cups crab stock (you could use chicken stock, I suppose, but then it wouldn't taste like crab.)
1 1/4 cups crab and lobster meat (or more, if you want)
1 T chopped chives or baby scallions
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
Salt and pepper to taste