Monday, June 27, 2011

Crab and Shrimp Risotto

We spent Father's Day this year in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  My family has been going to Hilton Head for the past three years, and each year we would stop at a local farmer's market to get produce and freshly caught shrimp.  I had come upon this recipe a couple of months ago when I was looking for something to do with all of that parsley in our garden, and I immediately thought of it when we were deciding what we were going to do for Father's Day.  This dish would be perfect with the fresh caught shrimp and it would give me a chance to practice my cooking skills.

My dad cooked, peeled, and deveined the shrimp basically because he didn't trust me to do it.  He told me to leave the eggs in the female shrimp because it would add to the taste and after I finally got him to leave the kitchen he would call in "Given up yet?" periodically while reading his book 2010: Odyssey Two.  That's my dad.

I had never cooked risotto before and I was worried that it wouldn't get creamy (especially because this recipe didn't call for anything creamy) or I wouldn't be able to tell when it was done.  I'm also incredibly impatient, so there were times when it was close and I just wanted to serve it.  But I kept adding chicken broth like the recipe said, and even when I thought it was done, I added another 1/4 c of broth before adding the shrimp and crab back in.  The key is to taste it often - the risotto will be white and fluffy and tender but not chewy when it is done.  My favorite part about this dish?  The pink color that the risotto gets when you add the Old Bay seasoning - it's a very nice finishing touch.

Everyone enjoyed the meal and we finished the entire batch, even though this recipe could easily feed 5 people.  When I asked for constructive criticism I only got a "it's terrible" from my brother as he finished his plate.  He did ask if there was any lemon in the risotto, which I had forgotten since it was not in the recipe (it was in the picture that went with the recipe, but that didn't print out).  Although it is somewhat time consuming, risotto is not as difficult to make as I had anticipated and I look forward to making this dish again as well as other risotto dishes.  There is also a technique where you can put all of the required broth in with the risotto, cover it, and let the action of the bubbles boiling and rising to the top mix the risotto for you.  Maybe I'll try that when I get a little more comfortable in the kitchen...

Crab and Shrimp Risotto
Source: adapted from Annie's Eats
Makes 4 to 5 servings

2 to 3 large cloves of garlic
1 1/2 T fresh parsley
3 T olive oil
1/3 lb shrimp - peeled, deveined, and cut into bite size pieces
3 1/2 c low-sodium chicken broth
1 c yellow onion, chopped
1 c tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 c of medium-grain rice
1/4 c dry white wine
1/2 t Old Bay seasoning
6 oz. lump crabmeat
freshly grated parmesan cheese, lemon wedges, and fresh parsley for serving

In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the garlic and parsley in 1 1/2 T of olive oil, stirring once or twice, until the garlic is fragrant (about 2 minutes).  Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper and stir until the shrimp are pink.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Put the broth in a small pot and bring to a simmer over low heat.

In the same saucepan, add an additional 1 1/2 T of olive oil and add the onion and saute until the pieces are translucent.  Add the rice and stir until the rice kernels are coated in oil.  Add the wine and continue to cook, stirring often, until the wine is absorbed.

Add the broth 1/4 c at a time, stirring constantly and making sure the liquid is absorbed before adding another 1/4 c of broth.  After about 10 minutes, add the tomatoes and Old Bay seasoning.  Continue to add broth until the rice kernels are creamy, fluffy, and white and are tender when tasted.  The rice should take about 25 minutes but could possibly take longer.  If you use all of the broth but the rice is still chewy do not hesitate to add more broth.

Stir in the crabmeat and shrimp and cook until just heated through and mixed together.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to serving dishes and garnish with parsley, parmesan cheese, and lemon.  Serve immediately.

**Notes: the amount of garlic you use depends on how much you enjoy garlic.  I used 2 cloves and I could barely taste it.  The rice that I used was Arborio rice, and I found it with the international food.  The crabmeat I found with the canned tuna, and it doesn't matter too much what size can you get.  I got the smallest one (6 oz), but you could probably get the next size up.  Also, I did not have chicken broth on hand but instead had packets of chicken bullion.  I added 1 packet to each c of water I used and it tasted fine.

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