When I was in Washington DC, a well-known Italian chef talked to me about seafood risottos and how he never finished a seafood risotto with cheese but with fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil & lemon or lime juice. He did this to give the risotto a clean taste allowing the seafood to shine. Yet quite a few of our well known celebrity chefs insist on adding parmesan to their seafood risottos, so I challenge you all to try my seafood risotto & then tell me what you think?
May 2021Update: If you scroll to the bottom of the post you will now find my Youtube video of this recipe!
Ingredients (for 4 main course portions)
300 grams Arborio Rice
80 g white onion finely chopped
25 g unsalted butter
1100 ml fish or chicken stock*
1 fat clove garlic (finely chopped)
1 pinch saffron strands (optional)
1 large lemon zest & juice
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 x 80g fresh salmon
2 small fillets seabass (cut each filet into 2 pieces)
12 Clams on the half shelf cooked
8 large raw shrimp/king prawns (peeled & deveined)
175 ml white wine
100g red peppers sliced
75 grams fine green beans trimmed & halved
10 grams of coriander chopped
10 grams Basil chopped
- Sauté the red pepper in a hot non stick frying pan using 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil until 3/4 cooked. Move the peppers around the pan so they only get very lightly caramelised on the edges, then remove from the pan & reserve.
- Blanch your green beans in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, then cool quickly with cold running water.
- Heat your seafood stock but don’t let it simmer.
- If using saffron place the saffron in a teacup and barely cover with boiling water. This will help bring out the flavour & colour of your saffron before you add it to your cooking.
- In a large thick bottomed stainless steel saucepan melt 25 grams butter on a medium heat and then add the onions & garlic and cook gently without colour until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Now turn the heat lower and add the Arborio rice and keep stirring to coat the rice with the butter (for about a minute).
- Add the white wine and stir as it cooks and gets absorbed into the rice. When the wine has evaporated, then begin to add your hot seafood stock a ladle at a time whilst continuing to stir your risotto.
- Now add your saffron along with water making sure you waste none of it, your risotto will begin to take a wonderful lemon yellow colour. Keep adding more stock as it gets absorbed into the rice.
- Continue to cook the risotto on a medium low heat until you have added about 1 litre of your stock and the rice is al dente. Remove your risotto from the heat and stir in the red peppers and green beans.
- Heat a large non-stick frying pan to a medium high heat & add 1/2 tbsp olive oil and begin by frying off your salmon pieces first. Season the salmon with sea salt and black pepper. Turn the salmon after 3 minutes, season that side and cook for another 3 minutes then remove from the pan and keep warm.
- Next cook your seabass pieces, placing them into your pan skin side down and season them with salt & pepper. The seabass pieces will cook quickly so cook each side about 3 minutes maximum and the place on your warm plate.
- Finally cook your shrimp until they are pink and cooked about 2 minutes each side.
Finish the risotto & Assemble
Stir in your cooked clams , lemon juice & zest, chopped herbs and a 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
Taste your risotto and season with salt & pepper.
Spoon your risotto into 4 warm pasta bowls and place 1 piece of seabass and a piece of salmon on the top of each.
Now finish the dish by adding 2 shrimp/king prawns to each serving.
*If you have leftovers it is good to keep a little of the stock to moisten the risotto when reheating.
You can also watch a video of me showing you how to make the risotto over on my YouTube channel here.
Buying Storing & Cooking Clams
When you are buying clams look for clams that are all closed tightly. If any are slightly open push them shut if they stay shut the are live and good to cook. Any clams that are open throw away! Do not wash any dirt off the clams when you get them home because soaking them in fresh water will kill them. Only wash them just before cooking them. Cook the clams in boiling, lightly salted, water just until all the clams are open then remove them from the cooking stock and allow to cool. Strain the cooking liquor through a very fine sieve. This can be used as fish stock.
Saffron Seafood Risotto ©Kevin Ashton 2021
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