Seaside risotto

Elevate risotto to new heights with a variety of fresh seafood and a Pernod scented stock
By Aaron Craze
Seaside risotto
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 1 cooked whole crab, white meat and brown meat separated, reserve shells for the bisque

For the bisque

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 50 ml Pernod
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree

For the risotto

  • splash olive oil
  • 250 g arborio rice
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • knob butter
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 60 g mussels, washed and cleaned
  • 60 g organic salmon, skinned, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 60 g clams, washed and cleaned
  • 4 red mullet fillets, skin on
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • handful fennel, fronds

Tips and Suggestions

Use the best quality risotto rice you can find. Look out for grains which havent been damaged and are whole rather than chipped.

Using a heavy-based pan will give a more even heat to the whole risotto whilst cooking it.

Toasting the rice before adding the liquid can determine the texture of the final, cooked risotto. It enables the outside of the grain to heat through and not breakdown during the cooking process as well as keeping in the starch.

Adding hot stock rather than cold is imperative to cooking the perfect risotto. If cold is added, the grains will remain hard and uncooked in the centre.

Freeze the shells of any shellfish once you have finished with them to make a bisque at a later date. It works equally as well with lobster, crayfish or prawn shells as well as the crab shells. Alternatively ask your fishmonger if they have any spare shells you could have they often do.


1. For the bisque: place the reserved crab shells and onion in a saucepan with a little olive oil and fry for a minute or so. Pour in the pernod and burn it off make sure you stand well back at this point, in case of flames. Stir in the tomato purée, then pour in about 2 litres of water, enough to cover everything. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Drain into a saucepan through a sieve press down onto the shells to extract as much flavour as possible and keep the drained stock warm on the hob over a low heat, ready for making the risotto.

2. For the risotto: heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan, then tip in the rice and stir for 2 minutes until its well-coated with the oil. Tip in the sliced leek and garlic and a knob of butter, then fry for a few minutes until the leek is starting to soften. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil, then simmer to let the rice absorb all the liquid. Pour a ladleful of the hot bisque into the rice in three to four stages, allowing the liquid to be absorbed each time before adding the next amount. Stir continuously until the bisque is almost completely absorbed.

3. When the rice has about 5 minutes left to cook, put the mussels, salmon and clams in the pan, cover and cook for 2 minutes or so the shellfish open. Discard any that dont. While these are cooking, lightly oil the red mullet fillets and cook them, skin side up, on a hot griddle for 20 seconds. Flip the fish over and cook skin side down for another 20 seconds.

4. When all the seafood is cooked, remove from the heat and finish the risotto by stirring in a couple of spoonfuls of the brown and white crab meat, a glug of olive oil and the lemon juice. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. To serve, spoon the risotto into 4 bowls. Top each bowl with a red mullet fillet, garnish with parsley and the fennel fronds and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

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