Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Crab, pea and broad bean risotto

Serves 4 as a starter

We got our first new season's peas from France a couple of days ago, and apart from podding them straight into your mouth and eating without delay, I can think of fewer better ways to enjoy them than folding them into this gorgeous risotto just at the last minute. By boiling the rice to begin with speeds up making a risotto. This doesn't make it any less authentic and cuts the stirring time down significantly.

650ml light chicken or vegetable stock
200g risotto rice
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
3 tblsp olive oil
50ml dry white wine
1 tblsp crème fraîche or mascarpone
1 tblsp freshly grated Parmesan
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tblsp brown crab meat
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful of basil leaves, shredded
150g mix of peas and broad beans
100g white crab meat
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
Aged balsamic vinegar, to serve

Pour about a third of the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Tip in the rice and blanch for 4 minutes. Drain well, then tip onto a tray. Spread to an even layer and leave to cool. Transfer to the fridge and chill until ready to use. Reserve the remaining stock.

In a medium saucepan, sweat the onion gently in 3 tblsp of oil for 5 minutes or until softened without browning. Pour in the wine to deglaze and cook until the alcohol has evaporated and the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency.

Meanwhile, bring the reserved stock to a simmer. Stir the blanched rice into the onion and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the stock to the rice, a ladleful at a time, stirring well between each addition.

Once the rice grains are almost cooked through but still retain a bite, beat in the crème fraîche or mascarpone, Parmesan, lemon zest and brown crab meat. Remove from the heat, check for seasoning and leave to rest for at least 5 minutes with the lid on.

When you are ready to serve, stir in the basil, peas and broad beans and check for seasoning. Divide among warmed plates, sprinkle the white crab meat on top, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, followed by a few drops of balsamic vinegar and freshly ground black pepper.