(Feb. 3, 2023) Passion and inquisition are the essence of gastronomy. For those who savor cookery, the making of succulent risotto is the next chapter of culinary delight.
A cornucopia of cultures defines regional specialties, the Eastern Shore is no exception.
Risotto is an Italian dish that one should have in their repertoire of recipes. This creamy, comforting dish is simple food at its best.
Arborio rice is the customary path for daily encounters, but another variety by the name of Carnaroli is preferred. The Italian white rice is grown in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of Italy and is considered the finest of the rice’s used when making risotto.
Carnaroli yields a lighter consistency which enhances the euphoric culmination of flavors.
A brief lesson in science is key for knowledge and application. Rice used in risotto should never be rinsed. Washing removes starch, which is what gives risotto its wonderful rich texture.
While the rice is cooking, the starch is released into the broth during the stirring process. For those who are familiar with risotto, this is understood.
But many cooks do not know that as the starches in the rice kernels begin to increase in heat, they are drawing in water from the broth being used to cook the rice.
The remaining broth that is left simmering around the kernels becomes highly concentrated with gelatin molecules. As a result, the high concentration of gelatin plus the release of starch gives the rice its notorious appearance.
Details develop the steps of transformation, and it is specificity that leads to success. Risotto must be made with stock or broth; water is never a consideration.
Keeping the broth at a state of simmering during the cooking process helps maintain the proper temperature for textural accuracy.
Time is the keeper and can be quite deceiving, risotto is done when creaminess surrounds a firm center. Nourishing the inner and outer components results in a delectable harmony for all to enjoy.
Do not be fooled by risotto’s humble roots, the spectrum of this unassuming dish has taken on a path to glorious possibilities.
The Eastern Shore is synonymous with seafood, so it is fitting that lobster risotto is a local favorite.
Many recipes call for homemade stock made with lobster shells. That is very pricy and not practical for home chefs.
Lobster base solves this problem and can be purchased for less than $10 on Amazon.
Carpaccio is an Italian appetizer of raw shavings of raw beef. With this thought in mind, consider a mound of lobster risotto nestled on cooked, buttery slices of lobster carpaccio. Enjoy!
6 cups lobster base
2 cups chicken stock
3 cup water
2 celery stalks, quartered
2 carrots, quartered
1 small yellow onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic, quartered
1. In a large pot, add of the ingredients together. Bring mixture to a boil.
Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until it reduces by half, approximately 30 minutes. Allow to cool and strain mixture, reserving the broth.
4 small lobster tails
1. You want to have one lobster tail per person.
2. Using sharp scissors, cut the top lobster shell to the tail, do not cut the tail. Using your hands, pull open the shell so the meat is exposed.
3. Fill the steamer with two inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium high. Steam lobster tail 40 seconds per ounce of meat.
Once the shell is orange and the meat is white, the lobster is done. Do not overcook the lobster.
Remove lobster from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, cut the portion where the tail is the thickest, into 3 or 5 very thin slices.
Chop the remaining meat. Set aside.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
½ cup dry white wine
2 ½ cups hot lobster broth
1. Melt butter in a large heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Add rice and cook until all of the butter is absorbed. Constantly stirring.
2. Stir in wine and again cook until the wine is absorbed, constantly stirring.
3. Add ½ cup of broth to the rice mixture, stir until liquid is absorbed, constantly stirring. Repeat this process until all of the broth has been added to the rice.
This should take approximately 25 to 30 minutes. The rice should be creamy with texture. If the rice is mushy, it is over cooked.
Place the 3 or 5 slices of lobster and form a circle on the serving plate. In a small bowl, using an ice cream scoop, add 4 scoops of rice along with the chopped lobster.
Mix well and add a scoop of risotto on top of the carpaccio. Place cooked asparagus tips at an angle and add a drizzle of melted butter. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.
Secret Ingredient – Fascination. “I didn’t say I liked it. I said it fascinated me. There is a great difference.”
– Oscar Wilde
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