Browned Butter Crab Risotto
The incredible flavour combination of nutty browned butter and rich crab meat is over the top in a very good way. The creamy rice, sage and sweet onions complement them both nicely. This makes a nice first course to an elaborate meal or a satisfying main course served with a salad. Crab is pricey and a bit tedious to shell, but it’s so rich you can get away with serving less meat per person than with other seafood.
You only need about 8 oz (250 g) shelled for this risotto. Lobster is a nice alternative to the crab; use two 1¼-lb (625-g) whole lobsters for this recipe. Have them cooked for you at the store or cook them with your favourite method. Slice the tail meat and break the claws into pieces, leaving one claw per serving whole, if desired, for a nice look.
- 2 lbs (1 kg) cooked crab legs in the shell
- 3 cups (750 mL) vegetable stock
- 1 cup (250 mL) water
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh sage
- 1 cup (250 mL) arborio rice
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Lemon wedges
- Fresh sage leaves or chives
Adapted from lcbo.com
1 Cut shells of crab legs and remove meat, leaving it in bite-size chunks as much as possible. Pat dry and refrigerate.
2 Heat stock and water in a saucepan over high heat until almost boiling; turn off heat and cover to keep hot (or heat in a large measuring cup in the microwave).
3 Melt butter over medium-low heat in a large saucepan until it is just starting to turn golden and has a nutty aroma. Remove from heat. Spoon ¼ cup (60 mL) into a bowl and set aside.
4 Return saucepan to medium heat. Add onion and sauté for about 3 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and sage; sauté for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add rice; stir to coat well. Add 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the lemon juice and stir to deglaze the pan. Ladle in about ½ cup (125 mL) of the stock and bring to a simmer, stirring. Reduce heat as necessary to keep the mixture at a low simmer and continue to add stock, ½ cup (125 mL) at a time, stirring often. Each time a ladleful is added, stir until it is absorbed before adding more stock. Simmer, adding stock, for about 30 minutes total until rice is just al dente. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5 When rice is almost cooked, heat reserved browned butter in a large skillet over medium high heat until sizzling. Add crab and heat, gently stirring. Remove from heat; stir in remaining lemon juice and season with pepper.
6 Spoon risotto into warmed serving bowls; spoon crab overtop and garnish with lemon wedges and sage.