Crab and Fennel Risotto
Penge Quality Fish
Penge Food Centre
Good one for dinner party starters. You can take the rice base 75% of the way there before the guests arrive, then finish it in 5-10 mins once they are seated with charged glasses to tide them over the wait.
You will need
1 Onion/ 2 shallot
2 sticks Celery
1/4 Fennel bulb
150-200g risotto rice (Baldo rice from PFC is very good and great value)
50-100ml dry vermouth or acquavit if you have it (pernod is on the sweet side)
100-200ml dry white wine
100-200ml prawn stock – see recipe
1-2 dressed crab
0-4 crab claws
1 vine tomato
Few sprigs tarragon
If you are using crab claws, bash them and extract all the flesh, no shell. No worries if you aren’t using.
Finely chop an onion, or even better a shallot or two.
Fry gently in some olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
Finely slice some celery and cut some fennel into smallish pieces. Once the onion is about halfway cooked, add the celery and fennel.
Turn up the heat and stir more frequently to stop it all catching. If it starts to brown too much, turn the heat down.
Add the risotto rice. Don’t overportion – it’s a starter, and it will bulk out. Stir lots to stop catching.
When the rice starts to stick/ burn, add a generous splash of acqavit/ dry vermouth.
Stir as little as you have to to stop it sticking. Add a modest dose of salt.
Once the rice has absorbed the alcohol, add a generous dose of white wine, nearly to cover the rice. Again, stir as little as you have to.
Once the rice has absorbed the wine, add a generous dose of prawn stock, again nearly to cover the rice. Again, stir as little as you have to.
Test the rice. It will probably still be hard to the bite in the centre. This is the point to leave it if you are going to come back to it later.
Either way, next step is to add more liquid, but not as much as before, either prawn stock or boiling water, as available.
Chop the tomato (skin on or off, as you prefer) and add to the pan. Also add the dressed crab (white and brown meat) and the meat from the crab claws.
Make sure you have enough but not too much liquid. Turn down the heat to finish the cooking of the rice. Use your judgement to add enough liquid to keep moist but not too runny.
Add the chopped tarragon, stir and test for seasoning. Add more salt if required.
Serve smaller portions than you think, with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Great with raw wild garlic in season.