Sunday, May 10, 2015

Soft Shell Crab With Shrimp Risotto, Brown Butter and Truffles Optional (but not really)

This Friday was a seafood extravaganza. A crustacean coup. A sinful evening of two of my favorite things: carbs and crab. A coincidence they have the exact same letters? I think not. Like a lot of what I cook - soft shell crabs are incredibly easy - but they look 100% gourmet. If you can sauté anything - you can do this! And risotto is the same. If you can stir, then your chances of making a delicious risotto are over 90%! The other 10% is being able to add liquid, and monitor flavor. A simple brown butter sauce and the flavor of shaved black truffles take the risotto to a whole new level. The other way to make food gourmet is to take picture of it from overhead - even a grilled cheese looks artsy from the top down. Get your pinchers ready to cook - after the jump!
Soft Shell Crab with Shrimp Risotto, and Brown Butter (serves 2)

Soft Shell Crabs

  • 4-5 medium to large soft shell crabs, cleaned**, rinsed and patted dry. (it is incredibly important to clean the crab - the easiest way is just to ask your fish monger or seafood store to clean them for you, but if not, please see the link for the steps to do it at home!
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1.5 cups Wondra flour
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Brown Butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted
Pour buttermilk in large shallow baking dish or bowl. Soak the crabs in the buttermilk for about 1 hour before cooking. Mix Old Bay, salt and pepper in another shallow baking dish or breading pan. 
Have another tray handy to lay the crabs out before sauteing. The crabs start first, but finish last. So next move onto the risotto!

Shrimp Risotto
  • 1 cup Arborio Rice
  • 4 15oz cans of Seafood stock - I use Bar Harbor
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 c yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley - minced
  • 6-8 U15 shrimp, peeled, de-veined and diced large
  • 2-3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 c white wine (dry)
  • shaved black truffles just because
Heat seafood stock to a simmer over medium heat in a medium-sized stockpot. Do not boil. Reduce the heat to low, and cover the pot with a lid so that the liquid doesn't evaporate. It's important to add warm liquid to the risotto. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil to medium high heat. Add the shrimp, and sauté until just pink, but not cooked through, this takes about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Next, start the rice. Add your onion to the same pan (this helps meld the flavors) and sauté until the onions sweat and start to become translucent, about two minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, reducing heat so the garlic doesn't brown. Add the arborio rice, and stir for two minutes to cook the rice. Next, add your white wine and stir until the wine is absorbed.  Begin adding the hot stock, one cup at a time to the rice. Stir and simmer until liquid is absorbed, then add the next cup. Continue doing this until the rice is tender but not mushy. You might need to add a little more or less stock. Stir in the partially cooked shrimp, as well as the salt and pepper. Stir a few more minutes to finish cooking the shrimp, and taste for seasoning.  Stir in the parsley. Keep warm on lowest heat while you do the crabs!

Take each crab from the butter milk and dredge with flour, to coat lightly on both sides then lay on tray. Heat butter and olive oil on high heat until very hot, but not smoking. place two or three crabs in the pan, with the tops down. Saute for three minutes, until deep golden in color. Flip the crabs and saute two minutes more. Repeat with remaining crab.

Set crab aside and make the brown butter. Wipe the pan from the crab, add the butter and cook over medium heat until butter foams and begins to turn golden brown. remove from heat immediately. 

Spoon risotto into bowls, top with a soft shell crab or two, then spoon brown butter over the crab. Sprinkle with the shaved truffles. Enjoy!

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