Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Meyer Lemon Risotto


This recipe is inspired by two things: a big bag of Meyer lemons straight from her Berkley garden that the wife of one of Ed’s business colleagues brought me when we met for a recent conference in Las Vegas, and second, a dinner Ed and I had at 808, a restaurant in Caesar’s Palace during that same trip. At 808, a Pacific seafood – Asian fusion restaurant, we had rock shrimp risotto with orange licorice froth for an appetizer. As we often do, we split the appetizer, though in this case I could have easily eaten the whole serving. The risotto was light and appeared cheese-less though certainly contained butter as well as olive oil. Though I have yet to crack the orange froth bit, upon returning home I made the following dish.

This dish can be made either with or without shrimp. This serves 6 generously (or 8 smaller servings with ~10 additional shrimp). If you are not planning to use all of the risotto, cook and add shrimp only for servings that will be eaten immediately. I often halve the recipe.

In a medium sized heavy sauce pan over medium high heat, melt:

2 T butter (I often omit or add additional olive oil in place of some/all butter)
2 T olive oil

Add:

4 medium shallots, finely chopped

Cook stirring for about 2 - 3 minutes, until the shallots are wilted and semi-transparent. Add:

2 c uncooked Arborio rice

and stir well using a wooden spoon to combine the rice and shallots and coat the rice.

BEGIN to add

6 ½ c chicken or vegetable broth which has been heated to the boiling point

about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition until the broth has been mostly absorbed by the rice. Continue to add broth, stirring, until the rice is tender but firm, al dente, about 20 minutes. If shrimp are to be used, start cooking them when all but 3/4 cup of the water has been added to the rice. Remove from heat and add:

4 T freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice and pulp (about 2 lemons)
Zest from 2-3 Meyer lemons

Stir well and serve immediately on warm plates, or if shrimp are to be used add some/all risotto to wok with the shrimp and toss to mix shrimp evenly. Alternatively, serve shrimp beside the risotto.  Top with

Finely chopped fresh parsley.

TO COOK SHRIMP:  In a large wok over medium high heat melt:

1 T butter (I often omit or add additional olive oil in place of some/all butter)
1 T olive oil

When butter and oil are hot add:

30 (about 5 per person) 21-25 count shrimp, shells but not tails removed

Cook, stirring, until shrimp are pink on both sides, about 3 minutes,  then add:

1 T freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice and pulp (about 1 lemon)

Continue cooking, stirring constantly until shrimp are firm (about 4 minutes total cooking time).

Remove shrimp from pan and continue cooking juice until it is reduced and thick.  Pour over the shrimp.


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