Browned Butter Risotto with Butter Poached Lobster and Pan-Roasted Peas
For the risotto –
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups lobster stock* (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
3/4 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 ounce (30 grams) Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
Freshly ground black pepper
For the poached lobster –
2 lobster tails, shells removed (save the shells!) (this video shows how I removed the lobster from its shell)
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup salted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon chunks
For the lobster stock –
Shells from 2 lobster tails
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tomato, diced
1 (8 ounce) bottle clam juice
1 cup water
1/4 cup white wine (Sauvignon Blanc is what I used)
Fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, and/or bay leaf, tied together with kitchen string) (optional)
For the browned butter –
1 tablespoon salted butter (or 2 tablespoons if you want more butter on top of your risotto)
1/4 cup frozen or fresh peas, to finish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the lobster shells on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil; bake until the shells are dry and crisp but not brown, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, saute the diced tomato in the olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the wine and stir to scrape up any bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the roasted lobster shells, the water, and the fresh herbs, if using. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, covered, for 25-30 minutes. Strain the stock into a bowl, then add it back into the same stockpot and keep warm over low heat until ready to use.
- To make the poached lobster – in a saucepan, bring 1 tablespoon of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in 1 piece of butter. When the butter has melted, add another piece. Continue with remaining butter pieces, one at a time, until all the butter is gone. Do not let this sauce boil, or it will separate. You should have a pale yellow, creamy butter sauce.
- Keeping the heat on medium-low, add in the lobster tails and cook for about 5 minutes, turning the lobster every minute or so. The lobster is done when the internal temperature is 140 degrees. Remove lobster and set aside.
- To make the risotto – in a bowl, whisk the 1/4 cup heavy cream to stiff peaks. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
- Heat a medium sized skillet over medium-low heat, and add in the canola oil. Add the onion and the 1 teaspoon salt. Slowly cook the onions (don’t brown them), until they’re completely soft, reducing the heat if necessary.
- Add the rice and continue cooking the mixture, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Pour in the white wine and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the wine is absorbed by the rice and you can no longer smell the alcohol.
- Ladle enough of the hot lobster stock over the rice to barely cover it. Continue to cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Continue this process – ladling, stirring, ladling, stirring – until most of the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked but the center is still al dente (You might not need all of the stock, so taste the risotto occasionally to test the doneness of the rice).
- Once the rice is al dente, add the butter and vigorously whisk it until it is emulsified into the risotto. Add in the Parmesan cheese and stir until thoroughly combined. Taste for seasoning, and add more stock if necessary, so that the rice is creamy and its surface naturally flattens out. Stir in whipped cream.
- To make the browned butter – place the tablespoon of butter into a small skillet over medium heat. Cook the butter, swirling frequently, until the butter is melted, and keep swirling until the butter turns golden brown and smells nutty, not burnt. (This article includes many helpful tips) Set aside.
- Add the peas to the pan you just browned your butter in. Cook over medium-high heat until the peas are golden brown, 90 seconds-2 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.
- To plate – spoon the risotto into a large bowl. Top with the poached lobster tail (you can leave it whole; I sliced mine), drizzle with a spoonful of browned butter, and sprinkle with the pan-roasted peas. Serve immediately.
Risotto recipe adapted from Thomas Keller
Poached lobster adapted from Steamy Kitchen