A couple of weeks ago, the Accidental Locavore got a package with a can of Miller’s Select Jumbo Lump Crab Meat. While my first thought was to make crab cakes (easy and quick, click for recipe), my more rational/adventurous being thought: been there, done that. It was such beautiful crab meat, it needed to be shown off and since it was canned, I could take my time figuring it out. A quick Internet search brought up the usual recipe sites (don’t get me started about Google Recipes) then back to favorite food sites. On Epi (the Epicurious app) the first thing to come up was a recipe for crab meat risotto with peas (a Frank favorite) from Gordon Hamersley’s Bistro Cooking at Home (a Locavore favorite). Here’s the recipe as I adapted it; remember risotto takes time, but it’s just stirring. Serves 6:
- 5-6 cups seafood stock (I used a quart of seafood stock and a cup of water; vegetable stock or water would be fine)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Pinch of saffron (optional)
- 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
- 1 bunch scallions, the white parts and 2″ of the green, sliced thin
- 6-8 ounces crab meat, preferably lump (I used my can from Miller’s and it was perfect)
- 4-6 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped, plus a couple whole ones for garnish (optional)
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest (I used most of a whole lemon)
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated (you’ll probably want more)
In a medium pot, bring the stock and wine to a boil, lower to a simmer. In the largest sauté pan you have, or a Dutch oven (it’s easier if you have a large shallow surface), heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, lower the heat to medium and cook until the onion is tender, but not browned, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the rice, stirring to coat well, about 1 minute.
Add about 1 cup of the hot stock and stir gently until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add another cup of the broth, still stirring, until that’s absorbed. Continue, one cup at a time until you’ve used 3 cups of stock. When that’s absorbed, add the saffron, peas, scallions, and about 1 ½ cups of the broth. Continue to cook, always stirring, until the liquid has been absorbed. Taste the rice. If it’s still hard, add more stock or water and cook until it’s almost tender (al dente, anyone?).
Add the rest of the butter, crab meat, mint, lemon zest, salt and pepper, Parmesan and 1 cup liquid. Cook, stirring, until the crab meat is heated through, the liquid is mostly absorbed and the rice is plump and just slightly chewy. Garnish with the mint leaves, serve and enjoy!
My rating: 3.5 out of 5
The original recipe calls for 3 cups of peas which is what I used. I thought there were too many and they overpowered the rice and crab. However, since they were the last of what I had shucked and frozen from the spring, we agreed to live in harmony. The crab was lovely and subtle, the mint and lemon zest added a nice light touch. The next time I make this, the Locavore might replace the peas with frozen artichoke hearts. What do you think?
Frank’s rating 4 out of 5
He thought the rice was well cooked, but thought there were too many peas (and this from a pea fan) and too much crab meat.