Friday, October 3, 2008

Crab Risotto

This fresh-flavored Italian risotto makes a wonderful main course or appetizer. You will need two crabs for this dish. Recipe serves 3-4.


2 large cooked crabs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ounce (30 g) butter
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
5 tablespoons Marsala or brandy
1 2/3 pints (1 litre) simmering fish stock
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons double (thickened) cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. First, remove the crab meat from each of the shells in turn. Hold the crab firmly in one hand and hit the back underside firmly with the heel of your hand. This should loosen the shell from the body. Using your thumbs, push against the body and pull away from the shell. From the inside of the shell, remove and discard the intestines.
2. Discard the gray gills. Break off the claws and legs from the body, then use a small hammer or pliers to break them open. Using a fork, remove the meat from the claws and legs. Place the meat on a plate.
3. Using a fork or a skewer, pick out the white meat from the body cavities and place on the plate with the meat from the claws and legs, reserving some white meat to garnish. Scoop out the brown meat from inside the shell and set aside with the white meat on the plate.
4. Heat the oil and butter in a pan and gently fry the spring onions until soft but not browned. Add the rice. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the rice is slightly translucent, then add the Marsala or brandy, bring to the boil, and cook, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated.
5. Add a cupful of hot stock and cook, stirring, until all the stock has been absorbed. Continue cooking in this way until about two-thirds of the stock has been added, then carefully stir in all the crab meat and the herbs.
6. Continue to cook the risotto, adding the remaining stock. When the rice is almost cooked but still has a slight "bite", remove it from the heat, stir in the cream and adjust the seasoning. Cover and leave to stand for 3 minutes to finish cooking. Serve garnished with the reserved white crab meat.

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