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Oh, how we are dreaming of summer… but until then there is Lobster and Beer Risotto.

February 8, 2007

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Risotto seems like it would be a humble food. It’s big, fat morsels of creamy rice stewed lovingly over some cooktop with a wooden spoon. But because it has a high-fallutin’ Italian name, it strikes me (and a lot of other diners) as a bit fancier than a mere side dish … This is why restaurants can get away with serving you a big bowl of risotto (um, that would be rice) as your entree.

Well, folks, if risotto is rice dressed up for a night on the town, my husband has just stuffed a wad of cash into its pockets and told it not to return before dawn.

Yes, those tell-tale red morsels of succelent sweet meat resting in the mounds of creamy risotto are indeed lobster. And that creamy and delicious sauce is made up of cheese, and yes, booze. Beer, to be precise. And then there’s a dollop of honey — just for sweetness.

Sound rich? Sound decadent? Sound delicious? Grab your fork… there’s no curfew tonight.

Click here to download the recipe for Lobster & Beer Risotto.

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Backgrounder

This recipe is completely inspired by the fact it has been cold. Yes, the wife and I live inside DC’s beltway … so it hasn’t been that cold. Indeed, some of our regular commenters are likely scoffing at our teen-temperatures as they don fleece-lined parkas and ski masks against the brutal weather of the Midwest and surrounds. To those folks: You have my sympathy and admiration.

Why does cold weather make me want to mix lobster and beer into a risotto dish? Because I want it to be warm. I want to be at the beach enjoying what I think is one of the best meals you can have: Lobster washed down with a beer. I wish the summer sun were turning my pale flesh the same color as the succulent lobster I’m tearing apart. (Sorry for the disturbing imagery. You get the drift.)

So, now onto the substance of the dish. As much as the lobster is key, the beer is also important. I wanted a dish that had beer’s light hoppy flavor, but without the occasional medicinal qualities that some bitter beers take on. So I chose a clean beer — a pilsner — to really bring some of those clean flavors. Pilsners are top fermented beers that are clear in color and have a distinct taste of hops. However, I wouldn’t be shocked if a nice wheat beer or lager would yield excellent flavor.

But the lobster is really the prize of the dish. It’s not in every bite; another goal was to give it that substance and flavor while trying to stretch a little lobster over a larger number of people. As a result, when you do get a bite of lobster, it’s really tremendous.

For this dish, I also broil the tails. I chose not to boil them because I didn’t want the lobster to lose too much integrity when cooked. However, I think another variation on this dish would be to boil the lobster and then use the cooking water as liquid to build your risotto.

Finally, a quick word about risotto. There are few dishes that are more about technique than risotto. Aside from needing a good short grain rice, such as Arborio or Vialone Nano, you have no set rules. You start with a good fat in the pan, then some aromatics, then it’s all about slowly adding the liquid until the rice is cooked. If you just follow the basics and add the liquid in increments, you will have a great dish soon enough. Here’s to it warming up soon!

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Lobster & Beer Risotto
Yield: 4 large servings, or 8-10 side servings
Time: 45 min
Ingredients:
3 lobster tails (6’’)
2 cups Arborio or Vialone Nano rice
3 cups water, seafood or chicken stock (warm or at least room temperature)
12 oz. pilsner or hefe weizen (wheat) beer (preferably warm)
1 stick butter
1 large onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
½ cup fresh grated parmesan
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley (chopped)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon thyme (chopped)
2 Tbsp. marjoram (chopped)
1 Tbsp. honey
pepper or grains of paradise
salt

Directions:
1. Making the lobster tails. Preheat your broiler to high and set your rack to about 8’’-9’’from the heat. Place the lobster tails on a baking sheet with shell side up. Place under the broiler for 4-5 min. You want to check about midway through to see if they are cooking evenly. If you have just an under-oven broiler, check after about 3 min. You don’t want the shells to burn, and being slightly under cooked is what we are going for since we are going to reintroduce the meat into the risotto later. Let the lobster cool for 5 to 10 min., then remove the shell. Cut lobster into medallions of meat, about 4 to 5 pieces per tail.

2 . In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter has melted and stopped frothing, add the onions, and salt liberally. Let cook for about 3 minutes and then add the garlic. Continue to cook for about another 3 minutes or until the onion is just about to turn brown.

3. Add the rice to the mixture and begin to let the rice toast. You want it to absorb all of the butter; continue to stir regularly for about 5 min. You should start to get a nice nutty aroma from the rice.

4. Once the rice is lightly toasted, add the beer and stir. When the bubbles have completely gone, stir again, making sure the rice is completely covered. Continue to stir occasionally until all the beer is absorbed and the rice begins to feel dry.

Note: If you used cold beer, you will want to turn up the temperature of the stove briefly to bring the temperature back up on both the rice and the beer.

5. Once the beer has been absorbed, add a cup of broth, the lobster and the herbs. Stir regularly. Once the rice has absorbed these liquids, add another cup of broth. Really, at this point you are using your judgment. The goal is to get the rice soft, cooked, and slightly al dente. It could take as much as 3 cups, but really it’s best if you use your judgment. You need to taste it regularly.

6. Once the risotto has reached the right consistency, add the parmesan and honey. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat. Cover and let rest for about 3-5 min. Serve while still hot. Enjoy!

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16 comments

  1. That is absolutely gorgeous!

    ps- I’m in Virginia, and I’m with you on the temps in the teens (feels like ‘2’)- bring on summer!


  2. Ooooh, lobster risotto — sounds wonderful! I made lemon risotto with asparagus and shrimp last night. Very similar, and it sprang from a similar urge to be on the beach in the summer! Thanks for sharing your recipe.


  3. I just want to copy everything you make… is this going to be a problem?


  4. Thanks for the compliments. It’s slightly warmer today… though I’m wishing I had that 60 degrees back from December.

    Brilynn, you are one of those I considered when writing the backgrounder (Canada isn’t like the Midwest, but it’s close and cold too) so you can steal from me. I don’t mind. Also I love the post you have today. Is that the official uniform of real winters? Because I think we can arrange a green card for you if you need to escape that.


  5. Hi found your blog via Lobstersquad and wowwowwowee! I’m so with you on the beer/lobster/summer thing (also just blogged about beer+meat=warmth). This looks positively sumptuous and it sounds like you both have a lot of fun cooking together!


  6. Oh my. Oh. Oh. Oh!!!!!


  7. hello from singapore,

    lucky you that your husband cooks, not in Asia husbands don’t cook….. people are still old school, that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

    and so i cook and cook, you can peep in my blog for some asian recipes , and oh, btw, i have a free valentine rcipe ebook to give away.

    cheers and thanks for sharing your recipes

    Nora
    http://www.mycookery.com/blog


  8. The photo of the uncooked rice is amazing. (Of course, they’re all amazing, but to be able to make rice look like that…bravo!)


  9. WOw, I missed quite a bit didn’t I ? sigh..first you got your succulent scallops, now the lobsters ? hehe, anyways, the rissoto shot is so preety, kinda looks like barleys ya ? Cheers, and have a great weekend :)
    Shirley


  10. Thanks for the compliments. In fact, I was very worried about this photo set until we started assembling this post. The beauty shots (what we call the big pictures of the finished food) were good, but I felt because this dish boils down to rice and lobster it would look so muted and boring. My wife luckily saved us and took great ones.

    The rice photo (the third from the top) is one of my favorites we’ve taken ever. We worried after seeing it that it might be too dark, but the way the grains have individual characteristics made it a photo that both the wife and really like. We are even more pleased you folks liked it.

    For me, this whole photo set has two others I really liked. I also really liked the lobster tails (2nd from the top). For some reason the width of our photo is too wide, but you can see all of the right tail in the original. When you can see it, it makes for a very industrialized look. And with the harsh reds from the shells and the over exposed intense light coming in from the top of the shot, I thought it was very neat.

    I also liked the photo of the pouring beer. We take a number of those style photos because we want to give speed and energy to what we’ve termed the ‘production’ photos (AKA the photos that run along side the recipe). But for some reason when I look at that one, I like the way the focus was on the beer, rather than the bottle or the rice below. There is something about the clarity of the beer and its ripples that gave it real motion.

    Thanks so much for noticing!


  11. [...] Lobster and Beer Risotto by husband at My Husband Cooks [...]


  12. hah, must be something in the air… i was recently compelled to whip up a beer & cheese soup. Beer is so underutilized in cooking, I’ll have to keep this usage in the back of my mind. thanks much!


  13. Wow, that just looks awesome. I’ll definitely be making it at some point soon.


  14. We are doing a Lobster Feast at the Brewery in October. I love the idea of Lobster and beer together. Our Wit’s End Belgian White might work well. It has citrus in it and coriander. Sounds like a yummy rissoto. Can’t wait to test it out! Thank you for your inovations. Vicky


    • Thanks. I feel most things are better with a little beer. I’m a big fan of wheat beers with seafood. I think you need something light in character and that acidic note they bring to it really compliment sweetness of the flesh. I’m thinking your Wit is perfect for it. Something without too much of a hoppy note.


  15. Das muss ich mal ausprobieren!



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